Today I will discuss hair cloning as it seems everyone is talking about it these days. It is one of the most common questions that I receive on a daily basis as a hair transplant surgeon.
There is no question that hair cloning will forever change the course of hair transplant procedures and hair loss in general. The obvious questions is, we can clone a sheep? Why can’t we clone a single hair follicle?
The answer unfortunately is much more complicated. The ability to clone individual hair follicles at all is a very challenging prospect, and then try to create the ability to clone numbers of follicles that would be needed in practical use with economics that would make it cost effective, and we’re a long way away. Whether that means 10 years, 15 years or even 20 years, who knows. What is does mean is that we as hair transplant surgeons need to plan our patients treatment plans based on the fact that we will not have hair cloning for the foreseeable future.
There are certainly many entities working on hair cloning. The entity to figure it out first will make billions from it. It will allow us to create skin so we will no longer need to harvest skin grafts from the body. It will completely change the course of medicine and will probably lead to other organ cloning abilities.
What I find interesting is the question of will we be injecting cloned stem cells from other hair follicles that just grow into new permanent hair? Or will be still place individual hair follicles like we do now that are just created via genetic engineering in the lab? Either way, the closer we get to hair cloning the more exciting things will become in the field of hair transplant surgery.
All the best,
Marc Dauer, M.D.