Is a Baldness Cure on the Horizon?

In so many social circles these days, one of the discussions is baldness.  And if it isn’t spoken about, most of my friends are dealing with it to some degree or other.  We know so many men (and women too) dealing with baldness, that I thought this guest post about a possible baldness cure would be a great resource of information would be helpful to our dad (and mom) readers!

Is a Baldness Cure on the Horizon?
By Stewart Bridges

Elon Musk generates more than his fair share of online chatter. The guy behind Tesla Motors and private space travel is a lightning rod for Internet debates about the dark side of artificial intelligence. But in a small corner of the Web, there is another discussion about Elon Musk that is almost as passionate — did he get hair transplant surgery, and, if so, who did it?

If you’re surprised or skeptical that anyone really cares that much about Elon Musk’s follicles, you must have a healthy head of hair. Hair loss and ways to treat it are subjects that create a huge amount of buzz among men — and some women — eager for the next big breakthrough in the battle against baldness.

Surgical hair restoration is currently the top treatment to reverse male pattern baldness. There are also a couple of FDA-approved medications developed to treat hair loss, marketed as Rogaine® and Propecia®. Rogaine is a topical solution, while Propecia is a pill.

One potential treatment now attracting attention is an oral drug being developed by KYTHERA Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. — the company behind KYBELLA®, the injectable fat-reduction procedure to reduce double chins. This fall, the company submitted an application to the FDA for permission to begin clinical trials of its new hair-growth drug using human patients.

But the research that many consider the most exciting involves a category of drugs known as “JAK inhibitors.” This type of drug first turned heads last year when Dr. Angela Christiano and her colleagues at Columbia University Medical Center publicized the results of a pilot study showing patients with an autoimmune disorder that attacks hair follicles could regrow full heads of hair when treated with a JAK inhibitor. The question remained whether similar results could be produced for men and women suffering from the much more common androgenic alopecia — male (or female) pattern baldness.

In late October, the Columbia University researchers announced that applying the drug to human skin promotes rabid and robust hair growth. So is that the other shoe dropping?

“What we’ve found is promising, though we haven’t yet shown it’s a cure for pattern baldness,” Dr. Christiano says in a Columbia University press release announcing the breakthrough. “More work needs to be done to test if JAK inhibitors can induce hair growth in humans using formulations specially made for the scalp.”

The announcement continues to ignite discussion online. And the founder of the American Hair Loss Association and The International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons, who hosts “The Bald Truth” radio show, interviewed Dr. Christiano in December.

Of course, the process of developing a mass-produced drug approved by the FDA takes years, perhaps a decade.
In the meantime, hair restoration surgery remains the most advanced, proven method of reversing hair loss. To be sure, the hair transplant procedures being performed these days have virtually nothing in common with the unsightly hair plugs that once left scalps looking pock-marked. NeoGraft®, a now-popular form of automated hair restoration surgery, was a game-changer, says Long Island plastic surgeon Dr. James Romanelli.

“Until the introduction of NeoGraft, extracting follicular units was performed manually using a special punch tool that resulted in only tiny pinprick wounds,” Dr. Romanelli wrote in his blog. “Although the manual method produced strong results, it was extremely tedious. NeoGraft not only automated this technique, but it also eliminated handling hair follicles with forceps or other instruments, which can damage them and lower the success rate of the transplants. The ‘no-touch’ hair restoration procedure offered by NeoGraft is more efficient and produces excellent results.”

So that may be your best bet if you want hair restoration results soon.

As for Elon Musk? The jury is still out, but there is still plenty of speculation.


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