Hair cloning: a cure for baldness on the horizonhair cloning
Hair cloning is expected to become a reality as early as 2028. Along with a handful of the world’s top doctors and scientists in the field of hair restoration, I am currently a clinical partner and consulting medical advisor at HairClone™, a UK-based biotechnology research firm that is heading up the effort towards hair “cloning” as a cure for genetic baldness.
How does hair cloning work?
Cloning is the production of genetically identical organisms. In the case of hair, the process involves removing hair from the patient’s own head, perhaps around 50-100 follicles under local anesthesia. The follicles would then be disassembled to remove certain cells from the follicle, the dermal papilla cells. The cells help control follicle growth. Once isolated, the cells would be multiplied in a special culture. The cells would then be reintroduced to thinning areas of the scalp to reduce the miniaturized vellus hairs, making them more robust. There is also the potential to induce the growth of brand new hairs.
Although progress is being made, substantial work still needs to be done in order for hair cloning, also known as hair multiplication, to become a viable option.When it does become a reality, a series of injections under local anesthesia will replace current methods of hair restoration, such as hair transplants and medical hair loss treatments. However, drawbacks will still remain.
For example, while the injected cells will act like “seeds” for the growth of new follicles, there is currently no way to determine or influence the direction of the follicle growth. Furthermore, other characteristics that determine a natural look, such as matching color, length, curl, diameter and coarseness, also cannot be influenced at this time. Obviously the Holy Grail is an unlimited amount of hair with perfect characteristics, whose growth can be stimulated wherever needed, but this goal remains elusive, and challenges remain. It may even be the case that a hair transplant might be a complimentary therapy to hair cloning, particularly at the front hairline, to ensure a natural appearance. Still, cloning promises to be the greatest advancement in the history of hair restoration, and holds promise to finally render baldness a thing of the past.
Sign me up for hair cloning. What are next steps?
If hair cloning is of interest to you, then we should probably talk about follicle banking. This involves the extraction of a small amount of follicles for cryopreservation. The young, healthy, robust hair follicles are cooled down to extremely low temperatures (between -80 °C and -196 °C), and stored for future use. This is needed because our hair cell quality, like all of the body’s cells, decreases with age. But at extremely low temperatures and degeneration is halted. The cells can be stored for many years.
Early adopters of follicle banking will be prioritized once the cloning technology becomes a viable solution, so if you are motivated there is definitely an incentive to take advantage of this technology. Follicle banking is not currently available as the protocols are still being worked out. Follow my blogs and website for information and notification when this technology becomes available. The cost of the hair cloning procedure is unclear at this point.
Dr. James Harris is an internationally renowned hair transplant surgeon, inventor of patented follicular unit extraction technology, published author in the field of hair restoration and an advocate for patient care. He is currently at the forefront of research and development in the field of hair cloning. Learn more about Dr. Harris or read rave reviews from his patients.