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We\'re Deluding Ourselves - There Will Be No Non-Cell Based Hair Loss Cure!


The more I look at all the evidence and take in the big picture, the more convinced I am than ever, that there will be NO non-cell based treatment which can effectively cure MPB.

By “no non-cell based cure” I mean:

– no topicals of ANY kind (no growth factors, no Histogen, no Follica, no AAPE or other cell-derivatives, no anti-FGF5, no PGD2 inhibitor)

– no wounding treatment of ANY kind, with topicals or without

– no plucking treatment of ANY kind

– no Pilox, no laser comb, no electric field, no exotic chemical or nutrient-based treatment

– no “cosmetic” substance rolled out by some shady or never-before-seen firm somewhere in the world

– no amazing discovery involving some everyday substance or activity that just somehow escaped being discovered by humans for 3000 years of recorded history

– no pill or drug of ANY kind

– no “parsimonious” miracle treatment like addressing lymph blockages or hanging people upside-down or any of those pie-in-the-sky “weird science” ideas professed by armchair eccentric hair loss “boffins” and amateur scientists

The MOST that even the best of any of the above will be able to do is produce sparse, sporadic hair or peach fuzz. None of the above will help anyone whose hair loss is not very recent or slight. There will be no miraculous “aha” chemical or drug of any kind that will grow truly substantial amounts of cosmetically viable hair on a mostly-bald scalp. You might as well get a hair transplant – the results will suck, they may tear up portions of your scalp, but it will still probably look better than any of the above.

The ONLY candidate for a REAL cure to MPB is one thing: a cell-based treatment, where newly-grown cells are added to the scalp. In this way, brand new follicles can and will be created in any quantities we need. It’s also the only realistic hope we have of reviving miniaturized follicles with any degree of certainty.

ONLY adding new cells to the scalp – meaning inductive Dermal Papilla cells (Drs Christiano and Jahoda), or inductive DP-like cells grown from pluripotent stem cells (Dr Terskikh and Sanford-Burnham), or other related research (e.g., Drs Lauster and Lindner in Berlin) will offer any REALISTIC hope for the 90% of us on these boards who are suffering from REAL, advanced hair loss, not just minor thinning. A related idea is growing new follicles in vitro, which Dr Lauster’s team and some scientists in Japan are working on.

Many people on these forums are constantly deluding themselves, always putting hope in “next” chemical or drug or product that suddenly appears on the market, or in the research pipeline. There’s always a huge buzz and much hype about these products, but the real results never pan out.

When people buy these chemicals and products online and test this stuff on themselves, it never works.

When clinical trials are actually done of these chemicals and drugs and treatments, the best they ever show is minimal, incidental hair growth which is not substantially more than what a placebo would produce. Even if it does seem to grow more hair – as in the case of products like Histogen – it’s obvious that it won’t restore a full head of hair on the vast majority of people, and it’s obvious that these products, if used in the massive dosages that might actually produce significant regrowth, can be quite toxic to the system.

I suggest that if you have significant hair loss – not just minor thinning – you start to change your thinking and don’t get excited about every new drug or chemical or topical that comes along.

The most these things will be able to do, in the VERY BEST CASE SCENARIO, is grow some peach fuzz or sporadic new hairs. But you’ll still have a lot of scalp to cover after that, after these products reach their inevitable biochemical plateaus.

And don’t wait for FDA approval or legalization of any of these chemicals anywhere in the world, either. What I am saying refers to such products whether approved by the FDA and other regulatory authorities, or not. It is inconsequential whether or not they’re approved. Even treatments which mostly suck, like Minoxidil, have been approved almost everywhere in the world. So don’t get your hopes up. Don’t think that FDA approval somehow means a product will actually work well. On the other hand, don’t assume that because a product is not FDA approved yet, it’s really so great that you just have to get your hands on it, because it’ll regrow all your hair. You will NOT regrow your head of hair using chemicals, government approved or not.

There is a paradox with many of these products – in theory, they could grow substantial amounts of hair, but to reach that point, you have to have so much of the product in your system, that it becomes toxic. And there you have the ultimate Catch-22.

I repeat: the ONLY real hope for a CURE to hair loss we will see, is going to be a cell-based treatment, where newly-grown cells are actually put, implanted, or injected into your skin.

There is really no other realistic way ahead.


Spot on!


Hmmm… just remember severe forms of Alopecia areata were thought to be irreversible until a specific solution was discovered. At the end of the day in both AGA and AA the stem cells and hair follicles are still present and undamaged. So reversal of MPB with a topical/oral formulation is still viable IMO.


[quote][postedby]Originally Posted by HairlossCurse[/postedby]
Hmmm… just remember severe forms of Alopecia areata were thought to be irreversible until a specific solution was discovered. At the end of the day in both AGA and AA the stem cells and hair follicles are still present and undamaged. So reversal of MPB with a topical/oral formulation is still viable IMO.[/quote]

I didn’t say it can’t be reversible. What I said is we’re not going to find a drug that can safely reverse it. The only thing that appears to reliably and completely reverse MPB is complete and total removal of ALL systemic androgens from the blood. That’s not going to happen unless you want to be a eunuch. You scalp circulation is connected to your body circulation and there is no way of isolating the scalp.


I agree, but wasn’t one the of the early points Follica made was that the wounding process alters the ‘cellular environment’? or something along those lines, it’s been such a long time, that it’s hard to recall all the details.


[quote][postedby]Originally Posted by Dogstar[/postedby]
I agree, but wasn’t one the of the early points Follica made was that the wounding process alters the ‘cellular environment’? or something along those lines, it’s been such a long time, that it’s hard to recall all the details.[/quote]
It’s nothing against you, but I really wish people would stop obsessing about Follica. For some reason Follica stands alone as perhaps the most continuously over-hyped company in the history of the hair loss industry, in comparison with the absolute vaporware that they have to offer.

Practically EVERY proposed treatment for hair loss alters the cellular environment in some way. Minodidil certainly does. Finasteride, Dutasteride, and all the rest of the topicals and chemicals do. The question is, can they regrow most of your lost hair?


We are talking about two different actions - hair regrowth and sexual side effects.

  1. Eliminating Androgen can regrow lost hair. Totally Eliminating androgen can substantially regrow lost hair.

  2. Eliminating androgen can cause sexual side effects. Totally eliminating androgen will cause major sexual side effects.

  3. Reversal of hair loss and producing sexual side effects are both in the stream of androgen suppression.

  4. But they may reach the final stop on that sream at different points.

  5. One action may deviate to a different stream at some point.

6)In other words, suppose that at some point in the stream the action of reversing hair loss branches off to another stream but the action of sexual side effects continues on the androgen stream.

  1. You yourself support the idea of implanting cells (to treat hair loss), and wouldn’t that do exactly what I just said above in number 6? In other words, when you solve the (hair loss) problem by negating androgen you’re intervening at the beginning of the stream but if you implant cells you’re simply intervening further downstream, right?

  2. And it appears that you believe that by the point in the hair growth stream where you intervene by implanting cells you won’t be causing sexual side effects, so doesn’t that mean that you yourself believe that at some point the hair regrowth streams branches off from the stream that sexual side effects is on.

  3. And the reason you have to implant cells is because the body is not producing enough cells on its’ own so you’re intervening by adding cells yourself.

  4. And maybe the reason the body is not producing enough cells is because a shortage of some specific growth factors.

  5. And maybe the point (in the natural stream) that key growth factors come into play is also after the point where regrowing hair branched off from the stream that leads to sexual side effects.


Yes, and by the way, props for that analysis, jarjar - well-done for a non-scientist and well-written. Picture a graph with two lines that cross. One is for concentration of medication versus amount of hair growth, and the other is for concentration of medication versus side effects/toxicity. I’m saying that the second line has a steeper slope than the first.


it’s easy to imagine how more cells could = more hair

Unfortunately it’s also easy to imagine how more cells could = gynecomastia because gynecomastia is simply more breast tissue.

But it isn’t easy to imagine how more cells could = loss of vigor, loss of ejaculate, and loss of erection.

I definitely think that the sexual side effects (loss of vigor, erection, and ejactulate) are at some point on a different stream from the hair regrowth stream. Although I do believe that there is a chance that the gynecomastia stream and the hair growth stream may be the same streams from beginning to end.


What has generated so much hope in Follica is not Follica itself. It’s the principle of wounding-based regrowth.

The fact is this is responsible for the most effective instances of MPB-reversal known to mankind. We may not understand it or be able to harness it, but at least it demonstrates the raw capability of working.

If you don’t think that is a big deal then you haven’t been watching the HM race long enough. We have seen other methods that work on a small scale and theoretically “should scale up just fine” but after years of waiting they have never panned out.

Follica hasn’t amounted to anything but it was pursuing a method that actually did. And it was fronted by one of the top researchers in the field. And it had money privately raised & had no incentive to bullshoot us for a while there. And the clinical trials process might have been quicker/easier given the nature of the method. And it wouldn’t have cost a ton to perform each time commercially. Etc.

Is Follica the answer? I dunno. I doubt it. But it wasn’t the stupidest place to put our faith several years ago.


What would you say if I told you that wounding the skin activates stem cells, and specifically wounding the scalp skin activates hair follicle stem cells in the balding scalp, which have been made dormant by MPB? And that activated stem cells are necessary to create a pool of dermal papilla cells which power the follicle and make hair grow?

And the whole reason Cotsarelis researched wounding in the first place because it was much easier and less expensive to research wounding than to get permission to use stem cells to research an MPB cure?

And that, even given all of the above, no one has yet come close to harnessing the potential of wounding skin to reliably grow hair?

And that now that someone has actually taken human pluripotent stem cells and made inductive dermal papilla cells out of them, the whole idea of using wounding to get hair to grow has been made obsolete?


I would say, “Yeah, I know.”

Regardless, it’s still April 2015 and we are still bald.


If wounding can regrow hair, then people should be able to see new follicles sprouting all over their donor site after a hair transplant.


I concur kinda. It’s quite unlikely a drug will act as a cure. Unless someone finds a way to selectively induce apoptosis or stimulate the immune system in some sort of advanced way. Brutally overriding the cell fate would be way to dangerous generally.


People have theorized more than once that this may indeed be happening. Maybe the true transection/kill rate of HTs is worse than we think, and some amount of wound-based regrowth is making up the difference.

I still wish somebody would do a study on scalp dermabrasion alone.


It wouldn’t shock me if Follica has already done this privately.

I just don’t think the effect will be pronounced enough to qualify as a “cure” for hair loss or MPB. Any hair generated will probably be sparse and even that will be situational, dependent on the specific conditions of the subject’s scalp. I doubt dermabrasion result in substantial cosmetic hair growth. This is one of those things that, if it really resulted in significant, reliable regrowth, humans would know about it by now.


I don’t expect cosmetically significant regrowth. But it might expose some bullcrap in the future in one way or another.

Years ago, Intercytex appeared to have gotten some slight amount of regrowth with their treatment in phase-I trials. But it included “scalp stimulation” (dermabrasion) and I have always suspected that was making the measurable difference. They never published a control study with the dermabrasion alone.

I abraded an area of my hairline a few times several years ago doing wound experiments. It’s not restored and pretty or anything, but it has noticeably reduced loss over time compared to the other side now.


Interesting, because whatever slight results we could expect from dermabrasion, I would have thought the benefit would be relatively short-term, not something that has a long-lasting effect.

Think about what dermabrasion (or “integumental perturbation”, as Follica calls it in their catch-all vaporware patent) is supposedly doing. It stimulates hair follicle stem cells, which are dormant in balding areas, jolting them into activity, causing them to do all the work they’re supposed to be doing – releasing growth factors and producing progenitor cells, which eventually produce a pool dermal papilla cells.

I should stress, this is what dermabrasion would be expected to do in the best-case scenario, where it’s really working.

Now, given that dermabrasion is just a temporary stimulus – the stimulation or “perturbation” doesn’t have very long-lasting effects, because when the stimulus ends, the status quo of DHT and MPB mechanisms will inevitably kick in again – I don’t see how we could expect a long-term benefit from one round of dermabrasion. Maybe if it were done in repeated sessions, once every few months or something. But a single treatment?

Mind you, what I’m saying appies to the very best case scenario, in the people most predisposed to benefit, with ideal conditions in their scalp. In these people you might expect a mostly bald scalp to grow a few visible hairs per square centimeter – far short of thick hair, far short of a “cure”.

So my best guess is that wounding can activate some stem cells, but that’s the key – SOME. Just a few, and not in a very reliable way.

That’s why I’m NOT optimistic at all about this wounding stuff, even if some kind of topical(s) is added, which don’t have such a great track record themselves.

Again, wounding is targeting the stem cells, trying to activate them, and now that Sanford-Burnham has figured out how to turn stem cells into inductive DP cells, and Dr. Lindner is growing new follicles in a lab, I think whatever benefits could be accrued from pursuing the wounding idea – however meager – have now been made moot. Wounding, to me, is an “orphan” technology – a dead end. Marginally useful in the best of the best case scenarios, and now it’s been surpassed.


Nothing is orphaned until we have a new commercial product available. Nothing.

I know past failures don’t predict what unrelated future projects will do. But numerous other HM plans have looked like they were effective & inevitable for a while too.

Its easy to look at the failed past attempts in hindsight and think it’s clear why that was premature excitement. But you had to be there. Our excitement & faith in current stuff is not so very different. It may pan out but it may not. We have yet to see a human with cosmetically significant resto work from any of these methods. They don’t have a protocol in trials on humans yet because they aren’t that far along.


[quote][postedby]Originally Posted by cal[/postedby]
Nothing is orphaned until we have a new commercial product available. Nothing. [/quote]

How about a treatment that just doesn’t work? We’ve heard a lot of promises about wounding, but so far apart from a few very rare, anecdotal accounts which aren’t replicable, no one, not even its primary proponent, Follica, has been able to demonstrate any real efficacy from wounding.