What is hair cloning?Numerous hair cloning and hair multiplication techniques have been proposed to treat baldness and hair loss conditions. Some methods have even successfully passed laboratory testing and are about to pass into the clinical phase, meaning that hair cloning and multiplication could be a reality in the near future.

The difference between hair cloning and hair multiplication

The concept behind hair cloning is to extract healthy hair follicle cells from patients, and then to cultivate multiple clones in vitro. Theoretically, after a certain amount of time, these cloned cells can be returned to the patients scalp and should grow as normal. Hair multiplication on the other hand requires existing hair follicles to be plucked and then transplanted back into the scalp where they regenerate. The hair multiplication should then begin, as germinative cells which are found at the base of the hair should generate an entirely new hair follicle and produce an individual hair by itself. Although hair cloning has been successfully carried out in rodents, cell replication still carries a high risk of inducing cell mutations which could prove cancerous. Until this risk is significantly minimised, the FDA has not currently approved hair cloning as an effective hair loss medical treatment.

The ideal candidate for hair cloning

Some hair surgeons originally claimed that hair cloning would be the ideal solution for patients who have had multiple hair transplants and are unable to have more, yet are still dealing with bald patches. Ideally in the process of replication, the candidate would have donated 50 cells which would have replicated into 1500 cells. As the hair cloning trials are still in early phases, anyone considering taking part in the research will have to pay a great deal of money to do so. England is the only country to currently offer the treatment, which is great news for us, but not so good for our Stateside cousins. However patients who are ineligible for further hair transplants could always look into a scalp micropigmentation (SMP) procedure. SMP is not only a more cost-effective and permanent solution than hair transplant and cloning methods, it requires almost no upkeep and gives a realistic and natural looking result.

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By Ian Watson

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