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Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration
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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

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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