This is a very promising approach. As someone who has been coming to this forum since 1998 (twenty years…that seem like thirty), I’ve learned to doubt almost everything. This, however, is an exception. I can see this coming to the market relatively soon.
Thanks for the post, Roger.
@RickH, this approach makes sense to me. With all the other treatments we’ve seen (drugs, topicals, and even cell-based injections), the success of the treatment depends on conditions and responsiveness of the scalp. With those approaches, some people are good responders, others are bad responders. (Usually even the best responders never grow all their hair back).
The Riken approach is much different because they’re growing the follicles outside of the body before implanting them. They’re able to predetermine exactly how many follicles are needed and how many will be grown. The number of replacement hairs is not dependent on conditions of the scalp, but rather on the success of a laboratory procedure.
So, if you need 5,000 follicles, they’ll be able to guarantee you 5,000 follicles. If you need 100,000 follicles, in theory they can give you that.
With the previous approaches, it was all hit and miss. You might need 10,000 new follicles to cover a given area, but you only get 1000, because that’s all your scalp will grow in response to the treatment.
With the Riken approach, if they’re confident they can grow a certain number of new hairs in advance, then that’s exactly how many you’ll get.
Hi Roger, I agree with you 100%.
We hope to see this staff on the market very soon
Thanks roger, its been a while…
I agree that this is probably the most promising solution for having a real “cure” any time soon. Very exciting stuff.
How does this work? Are they transplanting the hair follicle cells or are they growing hair in a lab and then transplant the hair grafts like a hair transplant?
Like a hair transplant.
This seems like great news, but what makes you think a scalp that’s been bald for 20+ years will be able to sustain newly implanted follicles the way a young, vibrant scalp would be able to? What’s to stop the newly implanted follicles from closing up after only a few cycles?
Here’s why: for the same exact reason that HT works on scalps that have been bald for a long time. This is really no different than transplanting follicles from another part of the scalp, which is exactly what is done in conventional hair transplantation. The ONLY difference here is that you’re growing new follicles from cells in a lab. Once those follicles are grown, they’re transplanted just like follicles are transplanted in HT.
Sure, different people have somewhat different responses to HT – in some, all the hairs grow well, in others, not as well. But we know that by and large, HT is successful even for people who as you say, have been bald for 20+ years.
The problem with scalp being bald for a long time appears to affect the viability of treatments like topicals and cell injections, where you’re depending on the scalp to play a big role in the formation or regrowth of follicles. But this is different, here the heavy lifting is done in advance and OUTSIDE of the scalp.
Then, let’s take the worst case scenario here – what if the new follicles cycle for a little while and then, as you say, “close up after a few cycles”?
Then, just make more follicles in the lab and transplant them. They will work “for a few cycles”.
Worst case scenario, I’d say, you’d have to get repeat treatments every few years.
How is that a bad thing? It’s certainly not worse than being bald.
Certainly not worse than being bald, but assuming best case scenario, what are your thoughts on attainable density? (ie, sustainable implanted follicles per cm2) Not just cosmetically acceptable density, but actual attainable density. Consider that some people have smaller caliber hair shafts, so where 50 hairs per cm2 might be attainable and cosmetically acceptable for someone with thick-shafted hair in a single pass, it may not be so for the thinner-shafted person, who would need additional, subsequent procedures (due to the trauma associated with the implants).
For me the thing is that we haven’t seen any proof of them being able to create 5000 new hairs.
HT density is always going to be limited because you have a strictly limited number of donor hairs, so it never looks dense enough. In the Riken procedure, density won’t be as much of an issue, because you can make an unlimited number of new follicles (according to them).
So this is basically expanding the safe zone follicles? Are these considered new in the sense that they have the same characteristics of “young” hair follicles or is is just reproducing the copies of the existing hair in the existing donor area. If this is the case, it is not good news, as these hair follicles are very inferior in many of us. IOW, is this only viable for those wing vibrant donor areas?
In my view this should provide the same type of result as with HT, except much greater density will be possible. The hair follicles produced will have the SAME viability and characteristics of your donor area hair as it is right now. So, if you have bad or weak donor hair, unfortunately the quality of the new follicles produced won’t be any better than the ones in your donor areas.
That’s the way I see this. Of course, they may be able to improve on that in the future, but I think this is where it stands right now.