Human_hair_closeupHair loss is a real issue for many people. Over 50% of men are affected by the age of 35 and whilst the proportion of women is less the effects can be devastating. The hair loss treatment market was worth $3.5 billion in 2015 according to the Washington Post with at least two thirds of this being spent on surgical procedures.

Current medical treatments for hair loss

The standard treatments include, Minoxidil, Finasteride, Laser therapy or even a transplant but all of these treatments come with their own problems and only achieve any success when continuously applied.

Hair transplants have quite a high success rate but the process is invasive, expensive and can require several procedures before achieving the desired results. It’s always exciting news then, when reports of a new treatment start to appear in the press.

There’s a lot of momentum currently in the area of stem cell treatment for hair loss, with an imminent clinical trial in the Miami and a growing body of research such as the paper produced by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in 2014.

On July 21st of this year Yahoo Finance reported on clinical studies which are beginning now, having just been cleared by the Japanese regulatory authorities to trial the RCH-01 product. Everything is in place including a purpose -built manufacturing premises with all the appropriate validations and protocols to begin clinical study.

What the clinical trial involves

The trial, carried out by Tokyo Medical University Hospital, will involve 60 men and women suffering from androgenetic alopecia. Stem cells will be taken from the back of the patient’s scalp and then processed and replicated to RCH-01 before being injected back into the balding areas at regular intervals so the success of the treatment can be evaluated.

Whilst it’s still too early to draw any firm conclusions, the advanced nature and financial commitment to the Tokyo trial should justify some real hope that stem cell therapy could be the future of hair loss treatments.

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By Ian Watson

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