Thanks to Ahab for telling us about this interview on Spencer’s show. First of all, the interview was very good, and appreciation to Spencer and Mr. Hall for doing it. David Hall very clearly explained where Replicel stands to this point, answered a lot of questions that might occur to us (but not all the questions I could think of), and Replicel also should be complimented on its transparency. Mr. Hall candidly admitted some failures and challenges at Replicel, too, which convinces me that this company is not getting over-enthusiastic or bragging about technologies that are not feasible or have little chance of being worked out (like some other companies we know… Can anyone say Foll-- OK, I won’t – but you get my point~)
Anyway, here’s my very brief analysis. Clearly what Replicel is doing, according to Mr. Hall, is reviving or regenerating existing, miniaturized follicles, RATHER than generating new follicles.
This is significant for a few reasons. One is, Mr. Hall stated that the success of Replicel’s procedure will most likely be tied to “hitting” the miniaturized follicles with injected cells while they are in the proper hair growth phase. That is, he indicated that the injections are likely to be successful if the cells can reach follicles which are in growth (anagen) phase, but wouldn’t be successful if the follicles they hit are in dormant (e.g., telogen or catagen phases).
Well, the first thing I can infer from that is, obviously, that they’re regenerating existing follicles rather than creating new ones (which I’ve already stated above).
The second thing I infer from that is that success (or yield of regenerated follicles per injection) will be dependent on the ratio of follicles in anagen phase to those not in anagen phase, on a particular patient’s scalp.
The third thing I infer is that since most balding men have far higher numbers of follicles in sleeping (e.g. telogen) phase than in growth (anagen phase), then yield per injection will likely be lower than we expect or hope, for a given person.
The reason for that is that in AGA, what happens is that the disease process lengthens the dormant phase, and shortens the growth phase, of affected follicles. The ultimate end of this process is that growth phases become exceedingly short (maybe days?) and telogen (resting or sleeping phase) becomes extremely long.
The fourth thing I can infer is that multiple sessions or multiple injections of Replicel’s cells could gradually increase yield. (Something to this effect was said by Mr. Hall).
The fifth thing I can infer is that possibly for some people whose growth phases have become ridiculously short, the procedure may help them only a minimal amount, if at all.
The sixth thing I want to note is that you can’t discern with 100% accuracy what the growing-to-sleeping ratio of follicles is, even in a substantially bald man. However, you can get an idea. If there are still significant numbers of hairs on the scalp sprouting out, but nonetheless the hair is still very thin and the scalp is largely denuded, then that person still might have a relatively high proportion of hairs in growth phase.
On a normal (non-balding) scalp, the ratio, I believe, is about 3:1 (growing to sleeping).
On a very bald person’s scalp, in the balding areas, maybe the ratio is 1:5 or 1:10 or something like that.
Then, according to Mr. Hall, only 1/10th of the injected cells (or less) might be fortunate enough to “hit” a follicle in growth phase, which just tells you about the inherent challenge of this kind of procedure.
The final thing I wanted to mention is that treatments like Sanford-Burnhams’s are NOT dependent on the state of the follicles in your scalp. They are wholly independent of that, in fact, because they create NEW FOLLICLES. Yes, they actually create brand new follicles.
As Mr. Hall said, Replicel’s procedure will be a good treatment, but not a cure.
By the same standard, then, maybe a treatment like Sanford-Burnham’s, which is based on completely different technology, is a real cure.