What are current areas of research regarding hair loss and hair transplantation?
Many institutions worldwide are investigating the basic science behind the genetic and biochemical causes of hair loss. That is, they are working to find the genes and chemical messengers that cause hair to fall out. Eventually, the scientific knowledge will help us formulate better treatments. Unfortunately, these endeavors have not allowed us to develop a cure at this point in time.
Currently, research in hair transplantation involves the fine-tuning of present-day techniques. Studies involving methods of transplantation, survival of grafts, density outcomes and complication avoidance are currently in progress globally.
Why is Hair Sciences Center of Colorado so committed to research in this field?
Dr. Harris is committed to providing his patients with the very best medical and surgical solutions available in hair restoration. Dr. Harris actively participates at the forefront of research in the field, and has authored several medical publications. Recent and current involvements include:
Dr. Harris has recently developed and patented the Harris S.A.F.E. System and S.A.F.E. Hex. The S.A.F.E. System is a surgical instrument to perform FUE, a minimally invasive surgical hair replacement option that is the most commonly requested procedure.
Dr. Harris is also the Chairman of the ISHRS FUE Research Committee, charged with initiating and performing multi-center prospective clinical studies regarding FUE.
What are possible future treatments for hair loss, and can I count on a baldness cure?
A cure for baldness currently does not exist, but solutions are in the works. Medications to block the action of the biochemical causes of hair loss are always possible as our understanding of the process broadens. Gene therapy for hair loss may be a future option, but there are many technical reasons why this treatment may be a distant reality. Identifying the gene or genes that cause androgenetic alopecia is only one hurdle.
Of some promise is cell therapy or hair multiplication. That is the use of certain cells obtained from your follicles and planted in your scalp. The basic idea is that wherever these cells are implanted, a new follicle will grow. There is no theoretical limit to the number of hairs you may eventually have on your head. This technology may be 10-15 years away.
A study published in the journal Nature Communications in March 2016 identifies, for the very first time, a host of genes believed to be associated with many hair characteristics, including eyebrow and beard bushiness, hair color and shape, hair graying and hair loss. Read Dr. Harris’ blog post about this study.
Other new research that shows promise is hair cloning, which is making rapid advances towards a cure for genetic baldness. It involves removing approximately 50 - 100 hair follicles followed by microdissection and removal of certain cells which are then multiplied in a lab. The millions of newly created cells would then be implanted in balding areas of the scalp to create new, permanent hair. In theory an unlimited supply of hair could be produced and implanted from the original 50-100 follicles. Perhaps as early as 2027 this technology is expected to become a reality. Learn more about hair cloning and follicle banking.
We invite you to ask Dr. Harris any questions you may have. He personally answers every one.