Adult stem cells are most concentrated in our bodies in bone marrow and even more so in fat tissue or adipose. Dr. Yates is able to harvest these fat cells and concentrate and purify them in a centrifuge system. He then combines the fat cells with PRP to inject into the scalp to stimulate hair growth and stabilize further hair loss. This process offers even more benefits than just PRP alone by replacing the lost layer of subcutaneous fat in the scalp where the hair follicle thrives.
There are a variety of factors that are a part of how the hair growth process occurs, and the process is very complex. Factors that contribute to hair growth include:
- Environmental issues
- Hormonal influences
- Proper nutrition
- Health conditions
- Autoimmune disorders (Infections, Iron deficiency, Metabolic issues)
Male pattern baldness is also called androgenetic alopecia (AGA) and is an X-linked trait, which links it to the maternal genetic influence. On average, most people’s hair grows about ½ inch each month and most people have 100,000-150,000 hairs on their scalp. Each strand of hair contains many components that are all contributors to the body being able to grow and maintain hair that is healthy. The body produces three different types of hair and the hair that grows from the scalp is called terminal hair.
The Basics of Hair Growth for Hair Restoration
People grow and lose their hair constantly. Our scalp is able to get rid of hair that is damaged or dead daily. If you have alopecia, you will not have new hair growth where your hair was lost. As people get older, they tend to lose their primary terminal hairs on their scalp and those hairs are replaced with vellus hairs, which are similar to the hair we have as a baby.
The hair growth cycle is made up of three phases.
Phase One-Anagen (Active Growth):
During the anagen phase your hair is actively growing. This phase typically will last from 3-4 years, but may last as long as nine years for some people. If an individual has a shortened anagen phase, their hair may start to become thinner and finer and have less color properties. Most of the hair on our scalp is a part of the anagen growth phase and only a small amount of our hair are in one of the other phases of hair growth.
Phase Two-Categen (Regressive Phase):
The categen phase is also referred to as the hair loss phase and will usually last for 3-4 weeks. On average, most people will shed 75-100 hairs from their scalp. By losing this hair, there is room for new hair growth. Hair loss can often times be associated with washing or brushing your hair.
Phase Three-Telogen (Resting Phase):
The telogen phase will generally last for a few months and during this phase your hair is resting. When your hair is in its resting phase, it does not grow or fall out. Your hair is in a state or rest or sleep and you will not have any active hair growth during this phase.
Hair Restoration Options
Fortunately, there are a variety of hair restoration techniques and cosmetic hair procedures that are available. A treatment plan will be customized for you since each situation is different. Recently, there has been an increasing interest in hair restoration by using the uncontrolled injection of Platelet rich plasma.
Another alternative is using a medication, such as Rogaine or Propecia. These two medications are the only medications that have been approved by the FDA for treating baldness. Both medications are more effective at maintaining hair that is already on your scalp than re-growing your hair. People who have used Propecia have reported having side effects, and some of those effects are permanent even if you stop using the product. Propecia also is unable to restore the large healthy follicles in androgenic alopecia.
During the last ten years or so, there has been great promise for being able to treat baldness by using stem cell technology. Scientists had previously thought that if someone suffered from hair loss, then they had a depletion of hair follicles and follicle stem cells that are needed to grow hair. However in 2011, Dr. George Cotsarelis, who is a professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania, had a study published that showed that people who are bald actually have the same number of follicle stem cells as those who are not bald. Dr. Cotsarelis, along with his team, analyzed skin cells from people with androgenetic alopecia and looked at skin cells from both the bald and non-bald parts of the scalp. They utilized different markers to differentiate between the stem cells and hair follicle progenitor cells and they counted the number of each and determined that there was the same number of follicle stem cells in the skin of people who are bald as there were for people who were not bald.
If the stem cells in the scalp are unable to develop and become cells that can produce hair follicles, it may be an underlying cause of male-pattern baldness. If the researchers are able to determine the signals that can stimulate the stem cells and make them produce more hair follicle progenitor cells they may be able to get bigger hair follicles that are able to grow hair. There are studies showing that men who have male pattern baldness still have stem cells in follicle roots but their stem cells have lost the ability to regenerate hair. Scientists have discovered that follicle stem cells need to have a signal from the skin in order to grow hair but were not sure about where the source of that signal came from.
In 2011 also, there was a groundbreaking report from Yale that seemed to show the effectiveness of adipose that derived from stems cells to activate hair follicles that had been dormant so they can now grow new hair. The team at Yale observed that the fat layer expands when hair growth begins in a process that is called adipogenesis. The researchers discovered that there is a type of stem cell that is used in creating new fat calls, (adipose precursor cells), and they are necessary for regenerating hair in mice. They also found that these cells are able to produce signal molecules that are called platelet derived growth factor (PDGF), and those cells were needed to have hair growth in the mice. While we are not sure if PDGF has the same chemical signal effect for human hair growth, we do not that it is a powerful activator of human adult mesenchymal stem cells.
The CSCTC Protocol
CSCTC is the study of the effects on the controlled micro-implantation of stromal vascular fraction that come from the autologous human fat in the scalp of men who have alopecia. You can introduce controlled doses of fat that come from the autologous stem cells with an automatic micro-injection system. The micro-injection system is painless and can be done as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia.
The adult mesenchymal stem cells are triggered by using particular wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation. Our protocol allows some patients to receive pulses of low level laser light that is applied to the scalp weeks after their stem cell implantation in order to exploit the beneficial effects of the stem cells. Photobiostimulation may enhance the biologic effects of the stem cells by using the appropriate wavelength. The wavelength of light can enter the scalp to the exact depth that the cells were injected adjacent to the follicles and this should result in the implanted stem cells being activated.
By micro implanting the stem cells and activating these cells, it is expected that men with alopecia will have their dormant follicles stimulated so they can grow new hair. If the degenerated follicle cells are able to grow new hair and can sustain that hair, we will be able to have the same successful hair regeneration effects that the mice had for humans. SVF and stem cells may still have an important role for more traditional hair transplant methods until we reach that time.