If you, like 80 million Americans (men and women both), are worried about losing your hair forever and not being able to replace it with currently available surgical or nonsurgical solutions, you may have begun researching hair cloning technology.
A relatively new advancement in the world of hair restoration, scientists have been trying to figure out how to combine stem cell technology and research to create “independent owner material” that can then be transplanted into an individual’s scalp without fear of the body rejecting it.
There hasn’t been too terribly much hair cloning news published in the last few years, and many people have forgotten entirely that this is even a viable solution. A lot of that has to do with the fact that last generation technology was holding back major advancements in this field of study, and most scientists and researchers didn’t expect breakthroughs or a hair cloning update for 15 or 20 years.
Nothing could be further from the truth today.
Thanks to the explosion in the rate of technological advancements as well as a handful of incredible research projects (including a number of them conducted by the University of Pennsylvania and the Berlin Technical Institute) that produced major breakthroughs in cloning technology, it’s now understood that this hair replacement solution should be commercially available inside of five years (or even less).
Talk about a turnaround.
But before you can get excited about taking advantage of this cloning solution to replace all of the hair that you have already lost (or protect yourself from losing any in the first place), you’ll want to know as much about this hair restoration procedure as possible.
While not exactly the “last word” on cloning, you’ll find the information below to be incredibly useful when you are researching whether or not this is something that you’d like to invest in.
Hope it helps!
Does hair cloning technology actually exist today?
When most people think of cloning, they think of Dolly the sheep or their favorite science fiction, forgetting completely that cloning technology exists today – and has existed for at least a couple of decades – even if it isn’t quite as exciting as it seems in the movies.
Medical researchers, scientists, and other professionals have been taking advantage of cloning solutions for years now, and while the focus of study hasn’t always been on cloning follicles of hair for transplanting, the process necessary for creating “hair cells” by duplicating living tissue is pretty much the same across the board.
Companies like Intercytek and RepliCel Life Sciences (as well as educational organizations like the Berlin Technical University, Durham University, and the University of Pennsylvania) all have been working for some time now on trying to crack the code necessary to clone follicles of hair from donor tissue.
When people first started experimenting with these kinds of procedures (15 or 20 years ago or so), it was thought that the technology and knowledge to produce a commercially viable solution would be available for 50 years.
Today, scientists and those literally on the “bleeding edge” of this particular field of study believe that a commercially viable option for cloning hair follicles and then successfully transplanting should be available to the general public in five years or less.
That’s how quickly things are moving!
You had better believe that this technology exists today, even if you (unless you’re willing to be a bit of a lab rat in an experiment) can’t go and have the procedure performed right now.
How exactly are scientists cloning hair?
The basic principles of this process have existed since the early 1960s, but it wasn’t until the 1970s (1970 to 1972) that professionals really started to get serious about trying to clone hair follicles from the human head and then transplant them on a bald patient.
In 1970, scientists researching stem cells and the cloning process were able to demonstrate that the scalp did in fact, contain stem cells – a critical component necessary for the successful cloning and transplantation of human tissue.
On top of that, they also discovered (contrary to popular belief at the time) that the scalp did in fact have hair follicles in it. Because the scalp has stem cells as well as hair follicles in it, cloning became a very real and viable option and researchers began to study different ways to create this “next big breakthrough” in the world of hair restoration.
Intercytek was one of the first companies to begin experimenting with the creation of new hair follicles from stem cells that were harvested from a donor site on top of the scalp or the back of the neck, and they continue to lead the change today.
Even though they have been working in this area of science for more than 15 years (and had hoped that day would be able to produce a viable and marketable products and solutions by the time 2010 rolled around), they’ve dealt with more than a few setbacks – including the loss of key contributors to competing businesses and organizations – and now project a solution to be available inside of five years or so.
The process for cloning follicles of hair is shockingly similar to the process used for cloning anything else when using stem cells as the “base material”. It’s proven time and time again to be one of the easiest and most efficient ways to clone a set of cells, and will likely continue to be the foundation of this research moving forward.
Which companies offer (or hope to offer) here cloning solutions?
As mentioned above, there are a number of commercial entities (and higher educational organizations) all trying to crack the code as far as the cloning of hair is concerned.
Intercytek, Aderans Research Institute, and a handful of other commercial operations have made major leaps and strides in the area of cloning, but many of their competitors have decided to fold up shop and get out of this area of study just because of how things have stagnated in the past few years.
The University of Pennsylvania, the Berlin Technical Universities, and other colleges and universities all over the world are also studying the science necessary for the cloning of hair follicles – but not in an effort to cure baldness. These organizations are instead looking to better understand the cloning process without having to deal with the high costs associated with the cloning of other genetic material.
How much does this kind of procedure cost?
While it is currently impossible to put a price tag on the cloning process today (just because of the lack of commercially viable options out there at this point in time), most expect hair cloning costs to hover anywhere between a few thousand dollars and $10,000 or more.
This would make it one of the most expensive hair restoration and hair replacement options out there on the market right now, but that cost or investment would be justified if it is actually able to the successfully implemented.
The reason that hair transplants so often “go wrong” is because there is a lack of donor material that can be successfully transplanted. The body naturally projects hair follicles that do not originate from your body, and as such, it’s impossible to take hair follicles from a third-party donor and expect them to hold for any amount of time.
If the cloning of follicles really does become commercially available in the next few years, it stands to completely transform the hair restoration world from the ground up. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the entire industry shift that way, with competition driving the prices down and making it more and more accessible to everyday folks.
Is it a viable hair replacement option today?
Unfortunately, if you’ve been wondering “if hair cloning available now”, you are going to be at least a little bit disappointed.
Though the science has been there since the early 60s (and it’s been proven to work – on rats, at least – since the early 70s), there just isn’t a commercially viable option available out there on the market today that you could take advantage of.
Companies are doing everything they can to try and create that service, understanding that it’s as close to the “Holy Grail” as it gets in the hair replacement world – but they just aren’t quite there yet. They continue to make major strides on a daily basis, and with just one or two more big breakthroughs in the technology and the science behind cloning, we could be looking at some pretty exciting solutions for people dealing with baldness.
You might want to stick to the hair restoration solution that you have been recommended (or the one that you have been using right along) at least until cloning becomes a more available and accessible option.