Hair loss is impacting job opportunities, relationships, mental well-being and self confidence. It is a disease that needs treatment. Lots written on the QR 678 these past few days – Everyone seems to have an opinion on it! I am writing in to tell our part of the story on how the QR 678 works and how it impacts lives.
There is a lot of ongoing research world over to develop a wonder drug to treat this problem of hair loss, though treatments from medications to surgery are currently available. However, not many benefit, sometimes they just don’t work, there are a large number of unsatisfactory results, some patients are not suitable for available therapies, cost is huge for surgeries, results are not long lasting, side effects are a concern, etc.
So, lets look at this from the perspective of a few worried consumers and how hair loss can truly impact confidence & lives. Akshay, who came to me and said – ‘Doctor, I am 28. I have lost out on a couple of good prospective marriage matches because my barren head makes me look 20 years older. I have taken all available conventional treatment but it hasn’t helped. Will my scalp ever become fertile again? Can you save my dying follicles and give them life again?’
What I am trying to demonstrate is this is NOT merely a cosmetic problem alone, it impacts lives too. I have heard some trivial comments on how this is only for the rich etc and is for a trivial issue. Is this really trivial? Not if you ask Akshay and millions of others!
What exactly is a growth factor?
A growth factor is a naturally occurring substance capable of stimulating cellular growth, proliferation and cellular differentiation. Usually it is a protein which is present locally and causes growth of that particular tissue. Growth factors are important for regulating a variety of cellular processes & act by binding to specific receptors on the surface of their target cells.
Why is this named QR 678?
A QR Code is a code used in medicine derived from “Quick Response“. 678 signifies “there is no answer”. This molecule has been named QR 678 to signify a “Quick Response to a disease which earlier had no answer”!
How did all this happen?
The concept originated from a chance observation by my colleague Dr. Debraj Shome, during his research trials on mice models for treatment of a severe form of eye cancer called Retinoblastoma. This research was being conducted in collaboration with the IIT Mumbai (2006), to develop a new nano-molecule drug delivery system for Retinoblastoma. This drug delivery system is injected directly around the diseased eye, so that the side effects due to intravenous delivery of the drug could be avoided. A few days after the injections were given around the eyes of each mouse, my colleague Dr. Shome observed that the hair around the mouse’s eye started disappearing due to local contact with the drug. This led him to speculate that there must be some local factors which are essential for hair growth and which were being affected by Carboplatin, since there was no other way Carboplatin could affect the hair growth, since the drug is not absorbed into the body post injection around the eye.
This was interesting as for decades, we believed that the internal health of the body was the most essential element for hair growth. This new postulate that hair growth could be influenced by local growth factors, despite the internal health of the body being perfect, was brilliant, revolutionary and new.
However, knowing that local growth factors may cause hair growth is one thing, but proving the same and finding which ONE of the hundreds of local protein growth factors actually caused hair growth or the absence of which caused hair loss, was a daunting task! These phases, undertaken in joint collaboration with a few top Indian institutes took four years of pain-staking research, & prolonged animal studies as well as human trials.
The next step was to identify by a process of scientific research the most likely ones of the growth factor proteins present in the scalp skin which could cause growth. By a process of scientific exclusion, we identified a total of five odd growth factors which could potentially play a role in hair growth.
It was not enough to merely identify the molecules though. We then prepared these five growth factor molecules artificially, outside the human body, by genetic engineering in the laboratory. These molecules were then synthesized in five different compositions and proportions, and it was decided to inject the solution into the scalp with the intention to deliver the molecules directly to the hair roots, without having to cross the skin barrier. This entire process took one and a half years.
A pilot trial was then conducted with five volunteer patients in each of the five groups (n = 25), with early to moderate hair loss, being subjected to the injections. The results were the best consistently in one particular group of human volunteers. This newly created molecule thus seemed to be the most likely to cause hair growth.
The findings of the pilot trial needed to be validated. A randomized clinical trial was set up comparing this new molecule in different concentrations and at different treatment frequencies with a placebo injection, in 750 patients. More than 80% hair growth was seen in about 6 months for more than 90% patients who tried this injection therapy. Results in some cases are even better than hair restoration surgery. This clinical trial involved 100 patients and spanned more than a year. This trial was double-blinded and finally unequivocally proved the efficacy of this cocktail of three growth factors in causing hair growth! Thus, was born the concoction which everyone was waiting for! This molecule was named ‘The QR678’.
How does the QR 678 work?
The epidermal hair follicles are regulated by interactions between the dermis and epidermis (the 2 layers of the skin),and undergo stages of growth (anagen), involution (catagen), and silence (telogen).Factors from the hair root which is present in the dermis, act as inducting signals for this cyclic growth of the hair. There are stem cells in an area of the hair follicle which pick up these signals and form a down growth into the dermis to form the hair shaft.
The network of capillaries surrounding the base of the hair follicle delivers the nutrients – amino acids, vitamins, minerals – necessary for proper functioning. Cell division in the hair follicle is extremely fast. This rapid cell proliferation requires a constant supply of nutrients. The inducting signals for the hair follicle growth are the growth factors identified by our team in the revolutionary artificially prepared concoction ‘QR678’.
Why do Patients Want the QR 678 and What Do They Feel:
Ruchi, a 35 year old guest relations professional said ‘I decided to go for it because it was a short 15-20 minute procedure, almost painless, and fitted my budget right. I underwent 8 sessions and I now am happy that I gave my hair the shot in time’.
Said Akshay’s father with a smile,” My son married Samantha whom he met at the same clinic .In fact they both were undergoing the same treatment, however they did not know each other before this. They are a happy couple now and often guide people seeking help with their ‘hair raising story’. I think it is time I get some injections myself before it is late. I am proud of the fact that Indian doctors have given my children something which is so exclusive and unique.”
This revolutionary treatment is being considered for presentations and publications in the scientific community world-wide and is currently awaiting a world-wide patent. Now, folks all over the world can have a ‘hair raising’ tale to tell!