Some think hair cloning is the breakthrough technology that could revolutionize the battle against hair loss. But is hair cloning really possible? Could this new technology really be the long-awaited cure for baldness?
Though there have been a lot of expensive research and extensive clinical studies dedicated to hair transplantation on a cellular level — and there have been some promising results that lead to real hope in the future — the science around hair cloning just isn’t quite there yet.
But what exactly is hair cloning and how is it different than other hair transplant techniques?
What Is Hair Cloning?
Hair is naturally regenerative. We all lose around 100 hairs each day. When hair falls out, dermal cells in the bottom of the hair follicle induce growth of new hair from the epidermal cells.
Hair cloning, also called hair multiplication, is a technique designed to extract healthy hair follicle cells and cultivate clones of them in a lab. These cells are then injected back into the scalp where they hopefully will regenerate and grow more natural hair.
Current hair transplant techniques take existing healthy hair follicles and implant them in areas of the scalp where more hair is needed. These methods are limited by the number of hair follicles on the patient’s scalp that are available for possible redistribution. Individuals with advanced male pattern baldness, for example, may not have enough healthy hair remaining to transplant to balding areas.
The idea of hair cloning is to actually produce more hair-growing cells, so patients are no longer limited by the number of hair follicles on their heads.
Attempts at Hair Cloning Technology
There have been several attempts to create a hair cloning technology that works, but results have been somewhat limited.
One of the most promising research efforts into hair cloning technology is from Atlanta-based Aderans Research Institute (ARI). The company’s proprietary Ji Gami™ process is designed to encourage a patient’s own follicular cells to regenerate and grow new hair.
A small area of skin with healthy hair is removed from the neckline, and individual follicular stem cells are cultivated in a lab, for as long as 20 days, where they eventually multiply. When enough new cells form, they are then injected back into the scalp as “hair seeds,” where they will hopefully grow new hair.
ARI — which is owned by the Japanese conglomerate Aderans Co. Ltd., the world’s largest wig manufacturer — invested more than $100 million in this new cellular regeneration technology. Phase I of clinical trials began in London in 2008, and Phase II trials began in the United States a few years later. Though some promising results initially came out of the trials, research was discontinued in 2013.
Other studies have tried to clone hair for transplant with varying degrees of success. In 2011, scientists from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine concluded that hair loss is not caused by the absence of stem cells, but instead because stem cells have become inactive.
In 2013, Durham University published a study that successfully cloned dermal papilla (DP) cells that had been cultured in a petri dish. These cells regulate hair follicle development and growth and are also thought to contain powerful stem cells.
In the Durham study, the cells were injected into human skin samples, which were then grafted onto rats. The cloned cells formed new hair follicles that were able to grow hair after just six weeks. The next step is to try this technique on human subjects.
Today’s Best Hair Loss Treatment Options
Though there have been some promising results with hair cloning studies, the science is still evolving. However, once science advances, these breakthrough techniques could offer real hope to the millions of people who suffer from hair loss.
In the meantime, there are many hair loss treatment options available today including prescription medications, hair transplants and new treatments using platelet-rich plasma (PRP). The right treatment option for you depends on many factors, including cost, overall results and your tolerance for surgical procedures.
NeoGraft’s state-of-the-art follicular unit extraction (FUE) technology enables you to grow your own hair naturally without invasive surgery, scalpels or risk of scarring. Gentle pneumatic pressure is used to extract hair follicles one by one from the donor area of the scalp, rather than cutting away a large section of scalp to harvest follicles, as is done in a traditional transplant. The harvested follicles are then transferred to areas of the scalp where you want more hair.
This quick procedure takes just a few hours, and within four to six months, transplanted follicles will begin to regrow natural hair. This new hair can be cut and styled just like the rest of your hair, and the procedure’s results are permanent.
To learn more about how NeoGraft can restore your self-confidence and give you back your natural hair, request a consultation with our team of hair restoration experts at NeoGraft Dallas today.