Hair cloning may sound like something straight out of a sci-fi movie, however, research into hair cloning is ongoing, and several hair clinics worldwide are set out to conduct clinical trials in the field of hair cloning.
Hair specialists believe that hair cloning may become a reality by 2020.
What is hair cloning?
As proposed for many years by hair scientists, hair cloning is a process, which involves the harvesting of healthy hair follicles, which are then processed to isolate specific cells responsible for the creation of hair shafts.
Once these cells are isolated, they are grown in culture over a period of 2 to 3 weeks, and then micro-injected into the patient’s scalp. The cells injected into the patient’s scalp are expected to rejuvenate thinning hairs and create new hair follicles.
Why is hair cloning important?
Currently, hair transplant is the most advanced treatment for hair loss and balding, and although it’s effective in “hiding” baldness and restoring receding hairlines, hair transplant has a serious limitation – it does not create new hair shafts. Hair transplant takes existing healthy hair follicles and moves them to locations on the scalp affected by hair loss, where they continue to grow normally.
As opposed to hair transplant, which only “cosmeticizes” baldness, hair cloning aims to become an actual cure for baldness, generating new hair follicles in the areas of the scalp affected by hair loss and balding.
Another reason why hair cloning is important is that it can be used as a preventative treatment in individuals with a known history of pattern baldness. Healthy hair follicles harvested from individuals with a family history of pattern baldness would be stored in tissue banks (cryopreserved) for future use, which gives a promising outlook for those struggling with early on-set pattern baldness issues.
What are the current challenges in hair cloning?
Beyond the legislative challenges associated with hair cloning (e.g. In the United States federal law prevents any cloning), there are various aspects of hair cloning that still require further research and clinical trials.
Some of the steps required by hair cloning are already known and researched extensively, however, research is still needed to determine which are the best markers in measuring hair follicle inductivity, the best system to multiply cells in culture and maintain their viability, and the process by which cells introduced into the scalp regenerate hair follicles.
When will hair cloning become a reality?
Several clinical trials have already begun, and even though hair cloning is not a far-away reality, it will take a few years before hair cloning becomes a hair loss treatment accessible for anyone struggling with hair loss.
In 2017, hair clinics in the US, UK and Singapore started a collaboration to develop a hair cloning concept that would bring a veritable cure to baldness and other problems associated with hair loss. The proponents of this concept believe that hair cloning will become available to patients by 2020. It remains to be seen whether or not hair clinics will start offering hair cloning as a service in 2020. One thing is sure, though: hair loss surgery is performed in our Budapest hair clinic in Hungary.