Vol. 1 – Hair Cloning
Welcome to our first edition!
Welcome to the first issue of the Bernstein Medical Newsletter. Well keep you up-to-date on the latest solutions for hair loss, new discoveries in the field, and information about our upcoming events.
October 25, 2007
Hair Multiplication Proto-Hairs
International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery Annual Meeting, September 2007
The latest development in hair cloning, also called hair multiplication, is the production of Proto-hairs tiny, hair-like structures formed in culture by the combination of dermal papilla cells and keratinocytes. This is the basis for the research currently being done by Intercytex, a Cambridge, UK based company with a research laboratory in Boston.
The cells that make up the dermal papillae in a normal hair follicle are called fibroblasts. These cells surround the base of the hair follicle and interact with the epidermal cells of the follicle (the keratinocytes) to regulate the hair cycle and hair growth.
One method of hair cloning has been to inject fibroblasts (that have been multiplied in cell culture) into the skin. The hope is that they will interact with the existing skin cells, particularly the keratinocytes, to induce new hairs to form. This procedure, tried in animal models, has been only modestly successful in producing cosmetically acceptable hair.
In the new procedure, dermal cells and keratinocytes, introduced to each other n a test tube, form small hair-like structures that contain a dermal papilla, matrix and an under-developed hair shaft a Proto-hair. With the proper conditions, Proto-hairs will take approximately 5 to 7 days to form. When they are implanted back into the skin, visible hairs have appeared in 10-14 days. So far this research has only been performed in animal models.
The name for this new technology, in which cells from a few dermal papillae are expanded in culture to produce cells from which many new follicles can form, is called Follicular Cell Implantation or (FCI). In theory, FCI may be the basis to generate potentially thousands of hair follicles and be used to treat a number of different types of hair loss including male and female pattern alopecia.
However major challenges stand in the way of the rapid development of FCI. The hairs must be of sufficient thickness and must grow to a cosmetically acceptable length, the system of implanting the proto-hair in a human must be developed and be easy to accomplish. Finally, the procedure must be shown to be safe. To read more about hair cloning visit the Hair Cloning section, or visit Dr. Bernstein’s Answers to Hair Cloning Questions.