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Hair Cloning or Hair Transplantation using Stem Cells

When the word hair cloning is heard, a science fiction film revives in the minds of most of us. In fact, hair cloning, in other words, the transfer of cloned hair to another area, is a concept that has been mentioned in the sector for decades and becoming closer to commercialization.

Hair cloning involves various experimental approaches to address hair loss issues. This process involves the proliferation of all hair follicles, the growth of hair follicle involves the recruitment of cells that can be correctly routed and their reproduction in a laboratory setting prior to their cultivation in another region.

Research on Cloning

The word cloning means “to replicate”.This concept derived from the Greek word “ Branch”. In fact it is used to insert a bud into a bark of a plant to reproduce a new plant.

Laboratory studies on cloning dates back to the work of Hans Adolf Edward Dreisch in early 1900s. The first known example of cloning is a lamb named “ Dolly”. In 1997, DNA of this lamb was replicated, then fertilized and birth of its offspring was achieved. In recent years, the field of tissue engineering has shifted its focus towards cloning with the aim to reproduce hair follicles. There are still many companies that continue to explore new ways of reproducing hair follicles using cell therapy.

Cost of Hair Cloning with Stem Cells

It is impossible to say how much the cost of the procedure will be without knowing whether and when the stem cell as well as hair cloning treatment option will become legal. Tens of thousands of dollars can be mentioned here. However, as with many procedures, as new techniques develop, the costs in hair transplantation decreases.In addition to this, it is also difficult to predict details such as the type of hair loss conditions that can be treated with hair cloning. However, over time, it is thought that a wider group of patients may benefit from this procedure.

Hair Cloning Studies

The basic idea here, is the ability to extract a small hair follicle from the donor site and then to isolate and grow specific cells within these hair follicles in a laboratory so as to regenerate new hair follicles when transplanted into the scalp.

The scientific approach to treat hair loss; is to generate thousands of hair strands in a laboratory setting with a sample of 5-10 hair follicles. Although this technological advancement sounds very exciting, in clinical studies it has been observed that the treatment had to be continued over longer periods. Apparently, it may take years to complete the treatment. A large proportion of patients with hair loss prefer treatment options whose results can be achieved in a shorter term. Hair growth and transplantation after this growth is a process.

Are There Risks Related to Hair Cloning?

Risks associated with the option of hair cloning therapy with stem cells are often related to cancer. Some experts have indicated that hair cloning, mutates the cells and can transform them into malignant cells. Therefore, hair cloning will not be approved as a medical treatment until this risk is minimized. However, once approved, since cloning the hair with stem cells does not leave any visible scars, it will be a very appealing alternative for a large number of women and men who experience hair loss. The potentially permanent results of this procedure will be achieved within a short time permanent.

Can Hair Treatment or Hair Transplantation be Realized with Stem Cells?

Early studies conducted in this area proved that new hairs were grown after the stem cells were implanted in bald mice. In other words, this idea is based on scientific foundations. Although it is commonly known as” cloning”; “follicular proliferation” or “stem cell hair transplantation” will be more accurate expressions.

The procedure in cloning process shows similarities with transfer of the follicles collected from some regions of the scalp to another area. In hair cloning firstly donor cells are proliferated in a laboratory setting to provide an almost unlimited supply of hair strands, and then implantation of available donor cells. If the hair follicles will be grown on the skin as encoded with DNA on the skin of the recipient person then a serious esthetic problem will be encountered as the hair roots will not grow in their natural direction and angle.

Even though reharvesting of hair follicles after they are grown, may seem like a solution, it will have to cover a few unpleasant months. Additionally, this period may last up to 6-7 months. Growth of some hair follicles may be delayed.

The explanation of why hair follicles cannot grow in natural angle and direction is that throughout the human life cycle, hair roots are effected by many external factors, such as your way of washing, and combing your hair, protein supplements you take etc. All these factors, will dramatically affect the texture and thickness of your hair.

It shows that the cloning process, which is performed only in a few laboratory settings around the world, is not an effective treatment due to both its extreme cost and its esthetic results.

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, you can access to our previous post written on hair cloning. To obtain further information on the most advanced hair transplantation techniques such as Sapphire FUE and DHI please contat Serkan Aygin, MD, PhD.

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