According to Yahoo! Japan, the Japanese skincare and cosmetics company Shiseido has announced that its hair loss ‘cure’ should be ready to be made commercially available in 2018.
Shiseido has partnered with RepliCel Life Sciences on a ‘hair regeneration’ project which involves replicating follicles to combat both Male and Female Pattern Hair Loss and promote healthy regrowth. Although RepliCel previously announced the product could be ready as early as 2016, it appears the launch has now been delayed.
Pluripotent stem cells
We previously reported on the RepliCel method, which draws on the findings of Japanese scientist, Shinya Yamanaka (pictured), who won the 2012 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine after discovering that mature cells can be converted into stem cells.
Whilst this ground-breaking cell regeneration development is being used to create ‘cell pharmaceuticals’ – which can help repair nerve damage – using the information to treat thinning hair is reportedly seen as the real ‘cash cow’ of regenerative medicine.
His pluripotent stem cell findings were recently furthered in specific relation to genetic hair loss by a team at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in California. They found that human stem cells could be converted to dermal papilla cells, using the pluripotent stem cells. As dermal papilla cells are an integral part of the hair follicle formation and hair growth cycle processes, the study concluded that, following successfully regrowing hair in mice during trials, their method for inducing hair growth could also work on humans.
About the RepliCel process
In order to fully understand how the concept behind Shiseido and RepliCel’s method for restoring hair would work, it is necessary to first know what causes androgenetic alopecia.
Testosterone byproduct, DHT is found in the bloodstream of both men and women. In those with a genetic predisposition to hereditary hair loss, DHT attacks hair located around the top of the scalp by binding itself to the hair follicles. This on-going DHT onslaught gradually weakens the targeted follicles – a process technically known as ‘miniaturisation’. This causes the hair to thin and can potentially even lead to baldness which is where the hair follicle dies completely.
Shiseido and RepliCel’s technique revolves around re-activating the existing hair follicles. In order to do this, hairs are extracted from the scalp at root level – making it less invasive than a hair transplant – and specific cell populations are isolated from the person’s own healthy hair follicles. These cells are then replicated into the millions and injected back into affected areas of the scalp.
What is not immediately clear is how this procedure could be sold to the public; we assume it is likely to be delivered in the same format as some of Shiseido’s beauty treatments, so could perhaps take place in spa-type environments, as well as at dermatology and hair loss clinics.
Though it is unlikely to be suitable for home-use, we did find information from RepliCel which notes they are ‘also developing a propriety injection device optimised for the administration of its products and licensable for use with other dermatology applications’. We will report any new updates on these delivery systems, as soon as information becomes available.
Timeline for launch
According to a press release issued by RepliCel, Shiseido has an exclusive license for the hair loss product known as ‘RCH-01’ in certain Asian countries including Japan, China and South Korea. There is no mention yet as to when it will launch – although they expect it to be in 2018 – and whether it will be made available outside of these territories, through Shiseido or any other brand.
The product is currently undergoing ‘multiple clinical trials’ which will continue throughout 2015. Additionally, Shiseido is carrying out its own clinical trial ‘of RCH-01 and the device’ which has no date attached but is said to be scheduled to happen ‘in late prototype development’.
Where genetic hair loss is concerned, three years can be a long time. If you are concerned that you are losing more hair than usual and would like to investigate ways to prevent further shedding and regrow your hair, visit a hair loss specialist sooner rather than later. They can provide you with a diagnosis of your condition then tailor a personalised hair loss treatment plan featuring clinically-proven components which, if followed as directed, should start to produce visible regrowth results within the first three to six months.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.