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Astressin-B (Hair Multiplication & Stem Cells Treatment)

posted by KO, 16.01.2012, 02:12

As I've pointed out before, there is nothing wrong with being skeptical. I'm fairly skeptical on Follica as well, I have trouble believing that something as simple as dermabrasion+lithium would work. But you take it to another extreme, you have issues with *everything* about Follica. You dont' like Zohar's background, you don't like the fact that Cots commercialized the tech, you don't like the idea of lithium, you think it won't pass the FDA process, you think it's toxic etc.

I'm not saying Follica is an example of this, but it has *some* of the
telltale signs... You have to be freaking blind not to see it.

I don't see anything unethical or suspicious in whatever Follica has done. They seem very professional and honest to me.

1. Suddenly you see an article either in the NY Times, or, more likely, in
some British tabloid newspaper, headlined something like, "Scientist
discovers new clues to Male Pattern Baldness", with a subtitle something
like, "Cure possibly 5 years away". The NY Times or London Times will
usually have a serious-sounding headline; if it's one of the British
tabloids, the headline will be cheesier, and possibly contain a pun or a
photo which mildly mocks balding people.

I'm going to point out that Cotsarelis doesn't come up with these headlines, even the author of the article doesn't do that. Headlines are written by a third person. Yet you hold it against him.

2. You read the article and discover it is another one of Dr. Cotsarelis'
"discoveries". Then you think back and seem to remember a similar article
about a possible "cure", about 6 months to a year ago, also mentioning Dr.
Cotsarelis, but the discovery was something different... well, kind of the
same but different. Within the next few months, there will also be 1 or 2
brief television reports about the "discovery", on CNN and/or one of the
major networks.

Cotsarelis is a basic scientist who's come up with a lot of good and interesting discoveries, starting when he was a postdoc in 1990. Even his paper published in 2011 was pretty interesting (MPB men still retain stem cells), and it had nothing to do with Follica. Furthermore, the hair loss research community is pretty small, and if he's especially productive, he'll get a lot of attention.

3. There then commences a flood of excitement in the hairloss community,
with a flurry of enthusiastic articles and frenzied debates on the various
hairloss websites and boards... This continues indefinitely.

Also not Cotsarelis' fault, yet you continue to hold it against him.

4. Sometime after the so-called "discovery" is announced, a medical
journal article is published, which gives more facts, but doesn't shed too
much more light on what was already announced, and maybe just muddies the
water still further. The "new" discovery is different... but somehow the
same as all the older discoveries.

Any specific examples?

5. Sometime within about a year of the discovery's announcement in the
media, maybe more, there is news that Dr. Cotsarelis has signed yet another
deal with another company -- either he's become a "scientific advisor" to a
new start-up, or he's sold the rights to something to another company, or
he's collaborating with this or that new venture, to somehow commercialize
the great new "discovery" he's made. With all these commercial ventures,
contracts, board memberships, and licenses Dr. Cotsarelis has accrued for
all of these valuable "discoveries", I have to ask myself some obvious
questions, but I won't do that here, I'll leave it to you.

Quite common for scholars at elite universities to consult for outside organisations, in biosciences, very relevant. You might remember some prominent US professors got in trouble for advising Gaddafi.

I just have to ask, though, with all that media coverage he suddenly gets
coming IMMEDIATELY after these "discoveries", I wonder how that is
happening. How the &%^$# do the media know exactly after Dr. Cotsarelis
makes one of these discoveries, that he's made it?

Are they camped out and embedded in his lab at the University of
Pennsylvania, sleeping on a cot and monitoring his work 24/7?

Or is he calling them to get the coverage?

I don't think the media has gone crazy at all. To us in the hair loss community it seems like it, but apart from a couple of appearances around 07 and 05, he has not been Paris Hilton of Hair loss as you're suggesting.

And if he is, I re-submit to you event #5 on the above list: the
inevitable commercialization or parlaying of every "disocvery" into some
business opportunity.

I welcome commercialization of basic science. Good on him. A lot more of this needs to happen throughout the biosciences.

One more thing to add: As soon as Dr. Mulugeta's findings of hair
growth from Astressin-B were announced in the media, what happened? Dr.
Cotsarelis was interviewed and he basically dismissed Dr. Cotsarelis'
findings as irrelevant for most hairloss sufferers, saying if there was
hair growth, the treatment could only possibly be useful for stress-induced
baldness, not for MPB.

The fact is, he's quite right. Astressin-B has been developed for stress-induced hair loss, and not MPB. He's is very correct to be skeptical and tamp down expectations. I don't think even Mulugeta considers Astressin-B a treatment for MPB (somethign Mulugeta might have a personal interest in?). Why hasn't Mulugeta gone forward with pursuing it as a treatment for MPB?

Isn't it possible that both stress-induced hairloss and MPB both feed into
the same, or similar, final common biochemical pathway, or that Astressin-B
can somehow block the effects of DHT, or positively stimulate
MPB-miniaturized follicles in some way that overrides DHT's effects? Even
I know that's possible from taking undergraduate biochemistry.

Is it possible? Maybe, maybe not, nobody knows yet you seem to consider it a serious MPB prospect. Ironic how you're so very skeptical of Follica, but when it comes to Astressin-B, your skepticism disappears. Sounds personal.

How could he possibly "know" that Astressin-B wouldn't work without taking
a closer look at it?

Perhaps because as a specialist in Hair follicles, he might understand the different pathways in play?

And no, unlike some on this board, I do not regard Dr. Cotsarelis as some
kind of hairloss Zeus, sent down from the clouds with infinite brilliance
to cure us. He's just an M.D. hairloss researcher with some very savvy PR
and media skills, and insofar as his ability to produce real-world results,
thus far he has come up a bit short.

No one thinks he's Zeus, just an excellent scientist doing good basic science who is now seeing his work being translated to the clinic. Yet you resent him for getting a lot of publicity. Don't know what to tell you. If you're pessimistic on Follica, at least wait for them to fail (or redo Phase 2 trials).

KO is located in [NA] and he is available to meet: NO

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