News that a hair loss cure has cleared Phase II testing was always going to grab our attention. This particular hair loss cure turns out to have a lot more to offer than most. We look closer.
FDA Approved Hair Loss Treatments
We only have two FDA approved hair loss treatments on the market. Finasteride, marketed mainly as Rogaine, is one. In its most effective, oral, form it is not available at all to women… due to known side-effects that can affect a baby in the womb. The other is minoxidil, which is a topical treatment, is essentially the only option for women. So when a hair loss cure for women clears testing it is sure to grab our attention.
Minoxidil and finasteride have been around for decades and are yet to be improved upon. They are both, medically speaking, blunt instruments. Affecting processes that, while often stopping hair loss progressing, can also have unwanted effects elsewhere. For women using minoxidil, these side-effects can, ironically, include growing unwanted hair. That is to say, hair that grows in places where you do not want hair, like the face. This side-effect and others almost invariably stop being a problem when the treatment is stopped.
The accepted benchmark for clinical testing on any new hair loss product is a 12% improvement. Measured by counting the number of new, non-vellus hairs on the scalp. Realistically, 12% is not a great improvement, certainly not enough to be properly visible. But the achievement is in halting the progress of the loss, taking on our preordained fate and changing the course. It is an important point that in all those decades nobody has managed to beat that 12% average improvement. Until now that is.
Follica, a Boston based biotech has signed a global development and marketing agreement with the University of Pennsylvania. They are developing an idea hatched in the university laboratories. They have designed a device that disrupts the skin on the scalp causing damage. Damage that is attended to by the body’s own defences, which sends legions of healing cells to the region. The Follica team then introduce a form of medication, details remain sketchy, designed to encourage those healing cells to choose to become hair cells.
They have just completed a 6-month Phase II clinical trial for the treatment and the results were emphatically positive. There no reported adverse effects but the efficacy was off the charts compared to minoxidil or finasteride. During the trial, the 48 subjects were split into groups. One group received a placebo while others received varying amounts of active medication.
Hair Raising Results
When they reached the end of the 6 month period, it was noted, as expected, that the entire placebo group continued to lose hair at varying rates. But the group on even the least effective dosage of the active treatment saw an average improvement of 29%. The group given the most effective dosage actually achieved an average of 44% increase in the non-vellus hair count.
Hair Loss For Women
This is a profound announcement. Having been stuck for decades with minoxidil and finasteride, we suddenly have the prospect of a treatment capable of so much more. The difference between 12% and a 44% increase is huge. It is the difference between an increase that requires an expert to confirm it and an outcome that is visible to even the most casual acquaintance. At the very least it offers a leap in efficacy against the existing treatments. Bear in mind that those existing treatments are currently the only options for an expert looking to provide a client with a broader plan. Combining platelet-rich therapy with an FDA approved drug is an increasingly popular solution. Upgrading the FDA approved product in that combination therapy with one that is nearly four times more effective is something to get excited about.
Follica will take their treatment through to Phase III trial in 2020 and we will be watching closely. When a hair loss cure for women clears testing, a really rare event, you would expect no less. They plan to come to the market with an actual product by the end of 2020 or early 2021.
Here at Hair Loss For Women, we have our very own hair loss heroine. We would like to offer you the opportunity to discuss your hair loss situation with a friendly, globally recognized, expert. Ranbir is a qualified trichologist and a full member of The Institute of Trichologists. A committed hair professional, Ranbir has years of experience and a well-earned reputation for thought-leadership and innovation in the industry. Discuss your hair loss situation with an expert, sympathetic and experienced ear. Use the contact form to get in touch.
You can read more about Ranbir here.