When Can We Expect an Ultimate Cure for Hair Loss?

Men have been seeking an ultimate cure for hair loss for thousands of years but until very recently with relatively little success as most available cures were either cosmetic cover-ups or unsophisticated vitamin/mineral pills and herbal lotions, with quite many of them just being scams. It was only with the advent of finasteride and minoxidil and improvements made in hair transplantation techniques in recent fifteen years that the new era began, enabling hair loss patients to halt the further progression of the balding process and replace the missing hair on top of their head using the hair left at the back of their scalp. However, to this day no ultimate cure for hereditary hair loss exists. There are presently several promising drugs and techniques under development but none of these new therapies is expected to hit the market before 2013.

NEOSH101 is being developed by the US company Neosil and it is currently undergoing phase IIb clinical testing. It has been shown to be a more potent and faster-acting hair growth stimulant than minoxidil and it only needs applying once daily. Though considerably improving the current hair loss treatment options, NEOSH101 is unlikely to become an ultimate cure for hereditary hair loss. The clinical trials seem to be advancing slower than most hair loss sufferers would like to see and, hence, do not hold your breath for it hitting the market anytime soon. NEOSH101 is mainly expected to replace minoxidil and other currently available hair growth stimulants.

Another promising area of development is genetics research, especially the telomerase research. Telomerase is an enzyme that puts natural caps on telomeres and thus protects them from shortening. Telomerase thereby maintains the genomic integrity. Shortened telomeres are associated with the premature aging processes. However, the uncontrolled activation of telomerase can cause cancer growth. Cancer research is the main focus of the telomerase study but scientists are also looking for other applications, such as anti-aging drugs and drugs against hereditary hair loss and premature grey hair. Although still under development, there are already some generic products available on the market that seek to emulate the mechanism of telomerase action but they have no scientific backing and should better be avoided. Telomerase research could really change the world of medicine but its commercial application might be a good decade away.

Hair multiplication, often called hair cloning, is the next hopeful treatment approach being developed. This technique involves extracting the healthy hair follicles from the back of the patient’s scalp, culturing and multiplying them and injecting the newly-grown hair cells into the bald scalp. Among several teams of scientists on three continents researching hair multiplication, the UK healthcare firm Intercytex appears to be the frontrunner. Intercytex reported results of the latest stage of the clinical phase II study of ICX-TRC (a suspension of a patient’s own dermal papilla cells) in March 2008 and they were positive. The next release is expected by the end of 2008. However, since the aforementioned data release no substantial progress has been reported and the company seems to be struggling, having serious difficulties to secure financing for its ongoing projects. This therapy might hit the market in 2013 at the earliest. The main benefit of hair multiplication would be solving the shortage of donor hair that is the main limiting factor in hair transplantation.

Generating hair follicles in wounds of hair-free skin is a completely new approach to growing new hair. It was discovered accidentally as wounded skin in mice started producing new hair. This technology is currently being developed by the US medical device company, Follica, which licensed this technology from the University of Pennsylvania. Though this technique may sound weird it is said to use only common instruments and drugs that have already been medically approved and thus it should not take too long for it to become commercially available.

This is the list of the main promising lines of research and development in the area of treating hereditary hair loss that are being currently developed but some others seem to be in the pipeline. It appears that becoming bald will one day be by choice rather than destiny.

Posted by Admin  •