Regenerative scalp injections known as Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy
- or, more commonly - PRP, are now widely available and often marketed as a hair loss
Whilst no clinical evidence
has yet substantiated the claims that this course of treatment is effective in regrowing hair, it is still being investigated in relation to a number of hair loss conditions
Most recently, Regeneris Medical has launched clinical trials
into whether these injections - which involve taking a patient's blood, separating it in a centrifuge, enriching it and injecting the solution back into their scalp - could treat Alopecia Areata
and scarring alopecias, known as Cicatricial Alopecia.
PRP being administered for hair loss during a trial in Italy (February 2017)
Currently scalp-only Alopecia Areata treatment
is possible and has been seen to produce significant results in many cases; the majority of conditions that fall under the Cicatricial Alopecia group, however, often cause permanent baldness due to hair follicles being destroyed and scalp scarring.
The 60-person trial, registered at clinicaltrials.gov
, goes by the official study title of Biocellular Regenerative Therapy in Treating Scarring Alopecias and Alopecia Areata: Use of High Density Platelet-Rich Plasma Concentrates and Cell-Enriched Emulsified Adipose-Derived Tissue Stromal Vascular Fraction (AD-tSVF). It commenced on 17th February 2017 and hopes to have the relevant primary data collected by 22nd January 2019.
Participants involved in the trial, which is taking place at centres across the USA in California, Massachusetts and Montana, are men and women aged 18 to 75 years old with a medical diagnosis of Alopecia Areata or a form of Scarring Alopecia, as confirmed by a biopsy. Although the type of Alopecia Areata
is unspecified, it is likely to be the scalp-only form, rather than the more extreme phenotypes of this autoimmune disorder.
Researchers' aims are to discover the safety and efficacy of using a 'biocellular mixture of emulsified adipose-derived tissue stromal vasular fraction (AD-tSVF) and high density PRP (HD-PRP)'. It has stated in trial literature that high density PRP concentrates, defined as more than 4-6 times the patient's circulating baselines, have been recognised for their ability to stimulate the scalp tissues and hair follicles in cases of Androgenetic Alopecia
(Male and Female Pattern Hair Loss).
Each of the 60 participants has adipose - body fat - taken via lipoaspiration (liposuction), and blood extracted for use in forming the PRP solutions. Then following procedures - featuring either active treatment or control placebos - are randomly allocated and carried out on the volunteers:
Group 1: HD-PRP + Matristem Matrix (ACell
) scalp injections
Group 2: HD-PRP + Emulsified AD-tSVF scalp injections
Group 3: tSVF, PRP, cSVF cell enriched biocellular therapeutic mix injected into the scalp
Group 4 (control): cSVF + Normal Saline (500cc) delivered via an IV
The team will first spend six months assessing any adverse effects, then - by using trichoscopy and photographic evidence - exploring hair growth and the general quality of the scalp hair, after 12 months of treatment. At this point, the researchers and patients will also provide their own assessments as to how treatment has gone.
Previous trials involving PRP
In April 2016 a Barcelona trial
found that, whilst it was not sufficiently effective to be considered a hair loss treatment
in its own right, PRP could be used as a secondary 'booster' therapy alongside clinically-proven medications for genetic hair loss. This was followed in December 2016 by news from a team of Egyptian researchers
who found that PRP could be used to treat Alopecia Areata. It is likely this American research builds on these findings.
Treatments and controls used in this new trial are similar to those used in a 2016-2018 investigation
into PRP for genetic hair loss, the results of which have not yet been announced. The University of Minnesota is also currently involved in a trial exploring PRP
as a potential treatment for Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia
- a type of Cicatricial Alopecia which mainly affects women and causes a thick band of baldness to develop around the hairline. Results from this study are expected in 2020.
This latest Regeneris trial is currently estimated to have final results by 22nd June 2019; once this information is released we will report back on the findings here on the Belgravia
hair loss blog. In the meantime, anyone concerned about sudden hair loss, unusual levels of hair fall or thinning hair should contact a specialist to receive a timely diagnosis.