News out of San Diego reaches us that Kerastem have declared the Phase II trial of their hair loss treatment a success.. we look closer.
The Kerastem Methodology
It is not a process for everyone. Their three step process kicks off with removing "less than a cup" of your fat, a procedure they describe as minimally invasive... though that must surely depend on where they need to go to get a cupful of fat. Step 2 of the process is performed in a laboratory and sees the cup of your body fat, which is full they tell us of regenerative cells, refined. The stem cells are combined with the refined fat, your fat remember, to produce an enriched version before being put into a hypodermic needle and injected into your scalp.
Kerastem believed that this application of your own stem cells in a nutritious soup of your own fat would trigger new growth.
Phase II Trial
This week has seen Kerastem announce the results of their 6 month study of 70 patients. The study was carried out at US centres, it was randomised, single-blinded and a controlled clinic trial. The patients were split into three groups with two of the groups receiving the Kerastem treatment, that is the stem cells blended with the refined body fat. One of those groups received a low dose and the other a high dose with the third group receiving pure body fat only.
The results showed that the group which just received body fat and the group which received the high dose version of the Kerastem treatment showed either no improvement in their condition or a reduction. It was the low dose group that saw some benefit.
It's A Results Business
So what benefit did this low dose group see? The average increase was 29 terminal hairs per cm2 of scalp. The marketing people at Kerastem kindly do the maths required to inform us that this equates to 2,900 hairs per 100cm2 - and comparing that to the average hair transplant of 1,900 to 2,000 transplanted hairs (their figures). They also want to point out that for early hair loss transplants are an inappropriate treatment, the patient needs to wait until their hair loss has stopped progressing before an assessment can be done.
HIS Hair Clinic
29 hairs per cm2 actually equates to a 17% increase. While this is to be applauded it still means that 83% of the hair loss is not coming back. How much of an improvement this would feel like in reality is questionable... we talk to so many men who shave or cut their hair very short as soon as they start to thin. Digging very deep into your pocket to achieve a 17% improvement seems a poor deal when a Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) costs less and achieves so much more.
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