Hair transplant is an application field that has been in use since 1950s and incorporates the latest developments in technology and science. Therefore, cloning is also a part of modern technology used in hair transplant processes. When we say cloning, science fiction movies, experiments, chemical drugs may come to minds of most of you.
However, what we call cloning is the transfer of hair follicles from one place to another without losing the viability of hair roots. Cloning, which has been used in various sectors for many years, manages to move forward with each passing day. Thanks to R&D studies, it is discussed where cloning can be used, in which areas it can be used and how it can make life easier. Studies on hair cloning are also ongoing; however, hair transplant has not been carried out with an open and implemented cloning method for now.
Hair cloning applications involve various experimental approaches to hair loss problems. The cloning process involves the reproduction of all hair follicles. It includes getting results. The correct orientation of hair follicle growth involves taking cells and reproducing them in a laboratory environment before implanting them in another area. Its main point is the reproduction of hair follicles in the laboratory.
Researches on Cloning
Cloning means “copying”. The origin of the word is derived from the Greek. The concept refers to reproducing using a branch of a bush or tree to make a new plant.
Cloning studies in the laboratory field first started with Hans Adolf Eduard Driesch in the 19th century. The first example in practice is accepted that DNA of a lamb named Dolly was copied and fertilized, then the birth took place in 1997.
In recent years, a completely different field called tissue engineering has emerged and scientists have focused on cloning in this field. Studies on cloning to reproduce hair follicles have also shown themselves in hair transplant. There are now many companies worldwide that are researching ways to reproduce hair in the laboratory area using cell therapy. Especially after the 2010s, studies in this area have been increased.
Costs of Hair Cloning with Stem Cells
It is not known in what form and when the hair cloning treatment options with stem cells will become legal. Therefore, we cannot say how much the procedures will cost. The situation will become clearer when the work is finally completed.
However, as in many procedures, it is obvious that the costs decrease as time passes, techniques progress and become widespread. It is also difficult to determine what kind of hair loss can be used in the treatment of hair loss. It is also possible to foresee that more and more patient groups will benefit from procedures as time goes on and studies progress.
Hair Cloning Activities
The basic idea in hair cloning is to take a small hair follicle from the donor area and to grow the specific cells in the laboratory by isolating it. Then it is the reproduction of new hair follicles when transplanted to human skin. Therefore, the current idea is to produce 5-10 sample hair follicles and hair follicles that are necessary to treat a whole hair loss in a laboratory environment.
Although this idea is exciting to all patients and doctors, its clinical studies take extremely long time. It seems that it will even longer. The majority of patients with hair loss problems want to reach the result quickly, so they prefer their options for faster results. Because hair growth, hair transplant and regrowth also require a process.
Does Hair Cloning have any Risks?
The risks predicted in hair cloning treatments with stem cell method are mostly based on cancer. This is because experts state that there are risks that hair cloning can mutate cells and turn them into cancer. For this reason, we can state that hair cloning procedures will not be approved as a medical treatment until this risk is minimized.
However, after approval, hair cloning and application will be of interest to all men and women who have hair loss problems, as there will be no visible scarring. The results will also be much faster and permanent, and patients will have the chance to move forward from the existing hair transplant comfort.
Is Hair Transplant Possible With Stem Cells?
The first studies with stem cells were done on a bald mice. The experiment resulted in new hair regrowth after stem cells were implanted. Therefore, hair transplant with stem cells is based on a scientific basis. Although it is commonly known as cloning, it is also referred to as follicular growth or stem cell hair transplant.
The process of the application in hair cloning is similar to the transfer of follicles collected from one part of the scalp to other areas. The cells collected in hair cloning are firstly reproduced and the transplanted root follicles are implanted in order to provide an unlimited supply in the laboratory environment. If the hair follicles are to be grown as a DNA-coded piece in the skin, then a problem arises that the hair follicles cannot grow in natural angles and directions, which provides an aesthetically unknown enigma.
Collection and re-implantation of hair follicles can be seen as a solution in this area; however, this may have to cover a period of several months or even several years. When we think that some hair follicles will grow longer, this process may be even longer.
We can explain that hair follicles will not grow in their natural angles and directions as follows; hair roots are shaped by the effects of external factors throughout the life of man, the direction of combing your hair, the way you shower, your nutrition, the proteins you take, etc. it affects both the thickness of your hair and the direction and angles of the hair follicles. Therefore, hair cloning processes are extremely costly in very few laboratories worldwide and are far from aesthetic results. Studies are still ongoing.
Advantages of Hair Cloning
Hair cloning processes started in 2010 and experimental studies are still continuing. Although it is foreseen to be applied in the next years, it can be seen that hair cloning has some advantages and disadvantages as a result of the studies. Its advantages can be listed as follows:
- In existing hair transplant methods, hair root is taken from the sides and nape of patients’ head. Therefore, it is mandatory to have enough hair follicles in these areas. However, it is predicted that a single hair follicle may be sufficient with hair cloning.
- It is aimed to reproduce from a single hair follicle in hair cloning, which makes it possible to perform hair transplant easily on patients with insufficient donor area.
- Since a single hair follicle may be sufficient in hair cloning processes, the hair follicles in the nape region of the person will remain in their natural place and will remain at the same density. There will be no thinning in donor areas.
- The operation will be less traumatic and the operation time will be shorter as no action will be taken on the nape and other surfaces, which are the donor areas. Since the donor area will not be treated, there will be no injury, even for a few days.
- There will be no such thing as infection.
- Since the operation will not be performed in the donor area, the area will be applied for less anesthesia and the loss of sensation or pain that may occur after the operation will be minimized.
Disadvantages of Hair Cloning
- After the experiments in the field of medicine, experiments on animals are higher than the success rate in humans. Therefore, although it gives successful results in animals, it is not clear that people will have the same success rate.
- The growth direction of the cloned hair follicles is also very important. However, it is an enigma how to adjust the direction of hair follicles in a laboratory environment. In order to get aesthetically satisfying results in other hair transplants, the hair follicles must be transplanted in the natural direction of hair. There is a risk to what extent this can be done in hair cloning.
- There are also health problems. It is considered as a risk that the hair root can cause a tumor in the patient after it is placed