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.Posted by