Our whistle-stop tour of our favourite candidates for the miracle hair loss solution we have been waiting for since the days of… well, forever, is complete. We take a look back.
The Heart of the Matter
There is, when you boil it down, just the one type of hair loss that is the target for all these miracle cures, androgenetic alopecia. The type which is bought on by genetics, that terrible predisposition inherited from our parents which makes hair loss inevitable… it is also by far the most common reason for hair loss. An unfortunate combination for any medical issue is to be both common and incurable. Hair loss, however, occupies that strange hinterland between a problem that is both serious, at least to the sufferer, and at the same time completely benign. The hair loss is ultimately bought on by a negative interaction between the hair follicles and hormones that are naturally occurring in the bloodstream, for reasons still not fully understood hair follicles are rejected and slowly turn back to normal skin cells. Leaving the sufferer with a permanent bald patch.
While genetic predisposition might be the most common, it is a million miles away from being the only trigger. The long list of alopecia variations are far from being ignored, indeed some research is specifically targetted at finding cures for conditions like alopecia areata, are aimed at a large group of sufferers. It seems that on a planet with 7 billion people living on it, statistically rare conditions like this turn out to have a very large number of sufferers.
What Hope For The Future?
If nothing else our tour of the hopefuls has evidenced an encouraging diversity to the strands of investigation, with contributions from all over the world. We have seen relatively simple topical treatments, albeit based on smart new science, aimed at hair growth on the scalp or even overplucked eyebrows. Several groups are looking at stem cell technology to try and identify the specific stem cells that have the potential to grow new hair. Follica, with their fascinating work on the interaction between the brain, the gut and our hair follicles are in a particularly interesting space.
Some of these companies have been beavering away for over a decade, others are relatively new entrants… which seems natural enough given that science seems to be constantly opening new avenues of research. There is also a big variation in the funding, but it is encouraging to see the size of the companies partnering with some of the smart little start-ups. Their deep pockets can only accelerate the research through the various trial stages.
HIS Hair Clinic
We have been doing this far too long to suddenly get overexcited at the prospect of any one of the research projects we have looked at becoming the cure we want it to be. Indeed, on close inspection, none of them seem on the verge of delivering that cure. But there is plenty of room for optimism in the diversity and scale of the projects we have looked at. No doubt, if we were to run the exercise again in a year from now the landscape will have changed considerably, such is the rapid advance we seem to be witnessing across the industry and around the world.
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