In a recent (2014) literature review, “Regenerative Medicine And Hair Loss: How Hair Follicle Culture Has Advanced Our Understanding Of Treatment Options For Androgenetic Alopecia” (Regen Med. 2014 Jan;9(1):101-11), Dr. Claire Higgins and Dr. Angela Christiano, both in the Department of Dermatology at Columbia University, reveal how current culture techniques are leading to better treatment options for male and female patient with androgenetic alopecia type hair loss.

What is Androgenetic Alopecia?

Androgenetic alopecia is a hereditary disease where a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) acts on genetically-susceptible scalp hair follicles in two ways:

  1. Susceptible hair follicles enter into progressively longer periods of their telogen (resting) phase relative to their anagen (hair growth) phase, and this causes hair shafts to become progressively smaller.
  2. Susceptible hair follicles progressively shrink (miniaturize) producing shorter and finer hairs that eventually disappear altogether.

New Drug Development for Androgenetic Alopecia

Since the early 1990’s, researchers have been able to study isolated hair follicles using cell culture techniques. These techniques have opened the door to better treatment options for androgenetic alopecia by using medications to interrupt the effects of DHT on genetically-susceptible follicles.

For example, hair follicles grown in a serum-free medium supplemented with insulin and hydrocortisone will reliably shift from their growth phase (anagen) to their telogen (resting) phase after a few days; this allows researchers to test new drug biologics to see how effective they are in delaying this shift. Prematurely shifting hair into telogen is one of the ways DHT causes hair loss in androgenetic alopecia; such tests could lead to the development of new and better drugs which interrupt this specific effect of DHT on susceptible follicles.

More recently, researchers have been able to grow intermediate hair follicles to model the miniaturization of genetically-susceptible hair follicles. This could lead to the development of new drugs which effectively interrupt the shrinking of DHT susceptible follicles. [click to continue…]

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Unlike a cosmetic product, object of clothing or an excursion, the service somebody receives from a hair transplant gives lifelong, permanent results. So, first of all the cost required could, and should be thought of as a long term investment. Since you are looking for something “cheap”, then that would be my advice to reconcile the costs.

Secondly, if you’re concerned that you’ll somehow be overcharged, then I suggest that you stick with a reputable doctor in the US who has good references. There should be a onetime charge for the procedure and you shouldn’t be obligated to pay for any ancillary products or follow –up appointments. Some doctors may appropriately charge for the initial consultation.

You’re advised to do some shopping around, and once you have a sense for the fair market price in your area, then make a decision. At this point, if your budget does not allow for a full priced procedure, then you’re smart to save the money until you can afford it. No decent hair doctor wants to give you a discount, and if you force his hand, then you’re truly risking “cheap” results.

Because, if you’re looking for something “cheap”, then you may just find that. Remember, you’re talking about your appearance and your health. By the way of analogy, if you want a cheap car, then try to find one with 200,000 miles or higher. You understand the risks that it will breakdown, and you’ll either be left stranded or forced to pay repair costs. That is the risk you are taking with a car. With a hair transplant, you’re risking having a permanent, unsightly result. Or even worse, you may have an uncomfortable or procedure which is risky to your health. I’m sure you’ll be able to find that type of work-like any industry it is out there available for bargain shoppers. I understand some people don’t really place a high value on themselves and continue bargain hunting when it comes to plastic surgery. This mentality implies shortcuts and low quality and when it comes to hair transplant or any other type of plastic or cosmetic surgery, this type of thinking should be avoided by both the consumer and physician.

Reference : What Does a Hair Transplant Cost & Why Does It Cost What It Costs?

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Looking at stem cells as a cure for baldness is hardly new, but being able to bio-engineer a hair follicle from one’s own DNA would represent a significant new breakthrough – but that’s exactly what a team of researchers in genetic regenerative medicine and bio-engineering at Tokyo University have done.

Asakawa K, Toyoshima KE, Ishibashi N, Tobe H, Iwadate A, Kanayama T, Hasegawa T, Nakao K, Toki H, Noguchi S, Ogawa M, Sato A, & Tsuji T published work in Nature last May, 2012, demonstrating a technique whereby they’ve been able to bio-engineer functional hair follicles that exhibit a normal growth cycle from stem cells taken from existing hair follicles.

To demonstrate that the bio-engineered hair follicles functioned like real hair follicles, they employed a widely used hair transplant technique called follicle unit transplantation, or FUT, to transplant these bio-engineered hair follicles into the scalp of mice.  Not only did the transplanted hair follicles exhibit the normal growth cycle of hair follicles, they also grew the correct type of hair and at the correct orientation as a function of the transplanted location.

In short, we can now, in principle,  bio-engineer our own  fully functional hair follicles based on our own DNA.  When asked how soon a practical hair replacement treatment could come out of this work, the research team said they hoped clinical trials could begin within three to five years, and, if that happens, they think a practical bio-engineered based surgical hair replacement treatment procedure could exist within a decade.

Reference: A Significant Baldness Cure Breakthrough using Stem Cells to Regrow Your Hair

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American Hair Loss Association Founder, Spencer Kobren provides some important insight on the reality of hair transplant before and after photos. In this YouTube video, Kobren illustrates how some in the hair transplant field can easily mislead prospective patients just by using a flash or by shifting  angles during the photography process.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JChYcf4Hx58&list=PL31F216E1A28469A7

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Scientists Identify New Hair Loss Gene – APCDD1

April 14, 2010

A research team that includes investigators from Colombia, Rockefeller and Stanford Universities, believe they have found a gene that impacts hair growth.
The gene that was identified is APCDD1 (adenomatosis polyposis down-regulated 1).  This gene is involved in the progressive hair loss condition referred to as hereditary hypotrichosis simplex and it is a condition that usually presents [...]

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Ookisa – A “Scam” or a “Misunderstanding” ?

January 27, 2010

Ookisa, LLC launched their hair care product line in 2008. A press release was issued in October 2008, titled “Ookisa(TM) Unveils Revolutionary Integrated Hair Thickening Systeme” and the first couple lines read, “OOKISA, LLC announced today the launch of the exclusive, new OOKISA Hair Thickening Systéme, an innovative and complete approach to hair health and [...]

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