Stem cell cloning for hair - when will it be available?

When will that option for hair be available? There's been a lot of talk about it, but nothing more than that. I'd be interested to find out when you professionals think it will be available and the differences between FUE and stem cells (or cloning) of the hair follicles? Is follicular cloning worth waiting around for?

Doctor Answers 2

Cloning of hair

"Cloning" in the true sense of the word is quite some years away.  The difference between cloning and FUE is simple: with FUE there are 3000-7000 follicular units to take from the back of a patient's scalp. Once you use the donor hair up....there is no more to take. So FUE has limits. However, with cloning there is theoretically infinite hair available. There are no limits, or at least fewer. 

Following the concept of cell based therapies, it is important to be aware of a few potentially exciting therapies. They haven't completed all studies but there is some potential in dermal cup cell based therapies that the Vancouver based RepliCel Life Sciences is studying in clinical trials. Skin is taken from the back of a patient and dermal cup cells are expanded in the lab until they are ready to be injected back into patients with hair loss. These technologies could be helpful but how well it really works isnt known yet. 



Hair Cloning and Stem Cell Research

Stem cell research is still in its very beginning stages. Scientists are now just able to create functional human follicles. They take derma papilla cells from the base which has inductive properties. DP cells basically induce stem cells in the skin to develop more specialized properties as they develop into follicles.

The experiments you are hearing about has only been conducted on rats (i.e. human hair follicles growing on the backs of rodents). And the hair which grows is thin and wispy.

Researchers need to test these methods on humans. They still need to find out how to create standard looking hair, how to get the follicles to follow natural growth patterns on the head and how the human immune system will react to these follicles. 



Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

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