Autologous cell-based therapy for male and female pattern hair loss using dermal sheath cup cells: A randomized placebo-controlled double-blinded dose-finding clinical study

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2020 Jul;83(1):109-116. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2020.02.033. Epub 2020 Mar 5.


Background: Few effective treatments are available for male pattern hair loss (MPHL) or, especially, for female pattern hair loss (FPHL). Recently, cell-based therapies using autologous or allogeneic cells have been used clinically.

Objective: We examined the safety and efficacy of autologous cell-based therapy using dermal sheath cup (DSC) cells to treat MPHL and FPHL.

Methods: DSCs dissected from occipital hair follicles were cultured to manufacture DSC cells. Participants with MPHL or FPHL received single injections of 7.5 × 106, 1.5 × 106, or 3.0 × 105 DSC cells or a placebo in 4 randomized separate regions on the scalp, and hair densities and diameters were measured for 3, 6, 9, and 12 months.

Results: Fifty men and 15 women aged 33 to 64 years were injected with DSC cells. Total hair density and cumulative hair diameter at the 3.0 × 105 DSC cells injection site was significantly increased compared with the placebo after 6 and 9 months. Men and women showed similar improvements, and there were no serious adverse events.

Limitations: No lower cell numbers were tested, and the positive effect was temporary until 9 months.

Conclusion: The results suggest that cell therapy with autologous DSC cells may be useful as a new therapeutic method for treating MPHL and FPHL.

Keywords: androgenetic alopecia; cell-based therapy; dermal sheath cup cells; female pattern hair loss; hair regrowth; male pattern hair loss; regenerative medicine.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alopecia / therapy*
  • Cell Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Hair / anatomy & histology
  • Hair / growth & development
  • Hair Follicle / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proof of Concept Study
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Treatment Outcome