HCell are an interesting US firm who have just taken a step forward in their search for a cure for alopecia areata.
This is an exciting venture based in Austin Texas which has a focus on developing alopecia treatments. Not some tired old blend of familiar essential oils either. These are therapies that combine the now familiar PRP/plasma along with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF).
Interestingly, their targets are sectors that are desperately under-served by current treatments. Paediatric alopecia areata, for which there is neither treatment nor cure, and androgenetic alopecia in women are the subjects of the therapies currently in development. For women a new treatment would be especially welcome since they can only use one of the two FDA approved hair loss treatments presently available.
Of the two therapies, which are apparently similar except for different ratios of PRP/plasma and bFGF, HCO17AA is maybe unsurprisingly further along the road having just been given "Ophan Drug Designation" (ODD) by the FDA. This status is given to drugs in development that are aimed at curing a disease which affects less than 200,000 citizens in the USA. Paediatric alopecia areata is just such an illness. It is an autoimmune disease that sees the immune system attack hair follicles by mistake. The result is typically loss of hair in small patches, often circular and about the size of a coin. From there it can progress to affect up to 50% of the scalp. The condition can become cyclical with phases of recovery and worsening.
Onwards and Upwards
The ODD presents a huge milestone for HCell, it is recognition of their work in research that the FDA found it convincing enough to give them the award - which now sees them authorised to move on to clinical trials. Positive results there might bring a treatment within sight for the first time. You can read the original press release by clicking here
HIS Hair Clinic
Who would not cheer on a company hoping to find a cure for alopecia areata in children, it is a cruel illness that affects young people at a a difficult stage in life where fitting in can be made to feel all the more challenging by an unusual appearance. We look forward to the results of those trials. As for their work on androgenetic alopecia in women... for us that sounds like another big step forward again from the alopecia areata treatment. It is essentially the same condition that affects men and produces male pattern baldness - the complexity of that condition is unlikely to be addressed by something as simple as injecting a couple of growth factors.
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