Both hair graying and hair loss with age are well researched topics, but there remains considerable uncertainty over which of the possible mechanisms involved are the most relevant, or most useful as targets for therapy. This state of affairs is well illustrated by the feverish interest that attends any possible advance towards reversing male and female pattern baldness. Also the sizable marketplaces devoted to treatments that work poorly, if at all.
Today's trial results are interesting, in that I don't recall seeing stem cell factors being used topically before. There is of course a great deal of nonsense and unscientific endeavor underway related to skin aging, so possibly I'll find those projects if I look at that end of the industry. As a general rule the skin is good at keeping near everything out; one shouldn't expect topical administration to work just because cells and tissues react in a certain way to signals either in vivo or in vitro. The signals secreted by the types of stem cell most often used in therapies are well known to reduce inflammation for a period of time: the cells die quite quickly, but their signals have an effect on native cells that can last for months. Unfortunately this has far less reliable effects on regeneration.
Nonetheless, researchers here offer results from a small trial of topical application of factors derived from stem cells, suggesting that it spurs hair regrowth to a large enough degree to be interesting. Whether this holds up in larger trials remains to be seen.
Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) - commonly known as male-pattern baldness (female-pattern baldness in women) -- is a condition caused by genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors. It affects an estimated 50 percent of all men and almost as many women older than 50. Adipose tissue-derived stem cells (ADSCs) secrete several growth hormones that help cells develop and proliferate. According to laboratory and experimental studies, growth factors such as hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), insulin-like growth factor (IGF) and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) increase the size of the hair follicle during hair development.
The team recruited 38 patients (29 men and nine women) with AGA and assigned half to an intervention group that received the stem cell constituent extract (ADSC-CE) topical solution and half as a control group that received a placebo. Twice daily, each patient applied the ADSC-CE topical solution or placebo to their scalp using their fingers. "At the end of 16 weeks, the group that received the ADSC-CEs had a significant increase in both hair count and follicle diameter. Our findings suggest that the application of the ADSC-CE topical solution has enormous potential as an alternative therapeutic strategy for hair regrowth in patients with AGA, by increasing both hair density and thickness while maintaining adequate treatment safety. The next step should be to conduct similar studies with large and diverse populations in order to confirm the beneficial effects of ADSC-CE on hair growth and elucidate the mechanisms responsible for the action of ADSC-CE in humans."
Accumulating evidence suggests that adipose-derived stem cell constituent extract (ADSC-CE) helps hair regrowth in patients with androgenetic alopecia (AGA). However, the effects of ADSC-CE have not been demonstrated in a randomized, double-blind, vehicle-controlled clinical trial. In this randomized, double-blind, vehicle-controlled clinical trial, 38 patients (29 men) with AGA were assigned to an intervention group (IG), with twice-daily self-application of the ADSC-CE topical solution over the scalp with fingers, or to a control group (CG). Changes in hair count and thickness from the baseline at 16 weeks were evaluated using a phototrichogram.
Overall, 34 (89%) patients (mean age, 45.3 years) completed the study. The phototrichogram at week 8 showed more increase in hair count in the IG than in the CG, and intergroup differences in the change of hair count remained significant until week 16 with overall changes of 28.1% vs 7.1%, respectively. Similarly, a significant improvement in hair diameter was observed in the IG (14.2%) after 16 weeks when compared with hair diameter in the CG (6.3%). Our findings suggest that the application of the ADSC-CE topical solution has enormous potential as an alternative therapeutic strategy for hair regrowth in patients with AGA, by increasing both hair density and thickness while maintaining adequate treatment safety.