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Robotic Hair Transplants & Hair Restoration
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Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration
Hair Restoration Answers

What is an “Extracellular Matrix” In ACell’s Hair Cloning Technology?

Q: Like many people who are eagerly awaiting hair cloning, I read about ACell’s new technology, but what is an “extracellular matrix”? — S.B., Chicago, IL

A: An extracellular matrix, or ECM, is the substance between the cells in all animal tissues. It provides support to the cells and a number of other important functions. ECM is made up of fibrous proteins that form a web or mesh filled with a substance called glycosaminoglycans (GAG). One type of GAG, called hyaluronic acid, functions to hold water in the tissues. Another important part of the extracellular matrix is the basement membrane on which the epithelial cells of the skin and other tissues lie. Elastin in the ECM allows blood vessels, skin, and other tissues to stretch.

ECM has many functions including providing support for cells, regulating intercellular communication, and providing growth factors for wound healing and tissue regeneration.

Read more about ACell’s MatriStem ECM on our ACell for Hair Cloning page.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

A Breakthrough in Hair Cloning

ACell, Inc. - Regenerative Medicine TechnologyNew developments in regenerative medicine, presented at the 18th Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society for Hair Restoration (ISHRS) this past week, may have opened the possibility that a patient’s hair can be multiplied in his own scalp.

ACell, Inc., a company based in Columbia, Maryland, has developed and refined an Extracellular Matrix (ECM), a natural biological material that can be implanted at the site of an injury or damaged tissue in order to stimulate a unique healing response. The ECM stimulates the body’s own cells to form new tissue specific to that site (a process referred to as “Auto-cloning”).

The ACell MatriStem devices have had some preliminary success in allowing plucked hairs that were placed into recipient sites on the patient’s scalp to grow. Although this is a major breakthrough, significant work remains in order for hair multiplication to become a practical treatment for hair loss in men and women.

It is also anticipated that the regenerative properties of Extracellular Matrix will facilitate the healing of the incision in the donor area after a hair transplant. We are currently offering ACell to all patients undergoing follicular unit transplant procedures at no additional charge.

We are currently studying the use of ACell for scalp hair multiplication as well as the facilitation of wound healing in follicular unit transplantation procedures. We are also treating select patients outside the studies. If you are interested in participating, please give us a call.

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Hair Restoration Answers

What are the Obstacles to Hair Cloning Using Plucked Hairs?

Q: What are the possible obstacles that you see with hair cloning using the plucking technique? — D.E., Boston, MA

A: Plucked hair does not contain that much epithelial tissue, so we do not yet know what the success of the procedure will be. Plucked hairs will most likely grow into individual hair follicles that are not follicular units and therefore, will not have completely the natural (full) look of two and three hair grafts. This limitation may be circumvented, however, by placing several hairs in one recipient site. It is possible that the sebaceous gland may not fully develop, so the cloned hair may not have the full luster of a transplanted hair.

The most important concern is that, since the follicle is made, in part, by recipient cells that may be androgen sensitive, the plucked hair derived follicles may not be permanent. It is possible, that since all the components of a normal hair may not be present, the cloned hair may only survive for one hair cycle.

Since the ACell extracellular matrix is derived from porcine (pig) tissue, the procedure may not be appropriate if you are Kosher or allergic to pork. Of course, we do not know what other obstacles may arise since this technique is so new –- or even if the ones mentioned above will really be obstacles at all -– only time will tell.

Follow the latest in Hair Cloning Research

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Hair Restoration Answers

Should I Have an FUT or FUE Hair Transplant, or Should I Wait for Hair Cloning?

Q: I heard that there have been some new advances in hair cloning and that it may be available sooner than we thought. I was planning on doing a hair transplant soon. Considering that hair cloning may be available at some point in the future, should I do FUE or FUT, or wait for cloning? — K.R., Fort Lee, NJ

A: Although there has been a major development in hair cloning with the use of ACell, an extracellular matrix to simulate hair growth, the model, at this point, is still in its earliest stages of development. It is hard to know when the technology will reach a state where it can be useful in hair restoration.

With respect to which you should do FUE or FUT if, theoretically, cloning is around the corner, the answer would be FUT, since FUT will give you the fuller look.

If the goal is to eliminate any trace of the traditional hair transplant, again FUT will most likely be the best choice, since the single linear scar would be easy to camouflage with cloned hair. With FUE, this would be much more difficult, since there are literally thousands of tiny scars. However, neither FUE nor FUT will preclude a patient from fully benefiting from cloning if, and when, it becomes available.

Read more:

Hair Cloning

Pros & Cons of FUE

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Hair Restoration Answers

What is ACell for Hair Cloning?

Q: I’ve read about some recent advances in hair cloning techniques with ACell. How does this work? — C.A., Stamford, CT

A: We, and several other groups, are engaged in studies using ACell MatriStem, a porcine extracellular matrix (ECM), to induce hair follicles to multiply in the patient’s own scalp (in vivo). This process differs from what people normally think of when speaking about cloning, namely producing populations of genetically identical cells, organs, or even individuals, in a test tube (in vitro).

In the current studies, a part of a hair follicle is implanted into the scalp in an extracellular matrix (ACell MatriStem), with the goal of inducing a complete follicle to form.

The concept is that if a small enough part of the donor follicle is removed, it will completely regenerate. Then, ACell MatriStem will induce the new hair fragment, implanted into the recipient site on the top of the scalp, to produce a new follicle –- thus we get two hairs from one. In one model being tested, hair is literally plucked from the scalp carrying with it enough genetic tissue to grow a new hair.

For more information, view our ACell page in the Hair Cloning section.

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Hair Restoration Research

Hair Cloning Developments Possible With ACell Regenerative Medicine Technology

Hair cloning is one of the most hotly discussed topics in the field of hair transplantation today. “When will hair cloning become available?” and “How will it work?” are among the most frequently asked questions about treating hair loss that we receive at Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration.

New developments in regenerative medicine technology, presented at the 18th Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society for Hair Restoration (ISHRS), may have opened the door to commercialization and medical use of new techniques which could provide an answer to both questions.

ACell, Inc., a company based in Columbia, Maryland, has developed and refined what they consider, “the next generation of regenerative medicine.”

For more information on this exciting development, view our page on ACell technology and hair cloning

Follow news and updates on our Hair Cloning News page.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Is Hair Cloning Technique Using ACell a Breakthrough?

Q: I just read a press release saying that researchers have developed a successful technique to clone hair by using a wound healing powder called MatriStem MicroMatrix. Is this new technique really a breakthrough in hair cloning? And if so, when can we start cloning hair?

A: It appears from preliminary studies that plucked hairs stimulated by ACell are in some cases able to regenerate new hair. Because the hair is placed into the recipient area and is partially derived from cells in the dermis, it is not yet clear whether the hair will be effected by androgens over time or if it will continue to bald.

The research so far is promising and a number of doctors are doing research in this area, including Dr. Schweiger and myself at Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration.

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