SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — By the time they’re 50, 85 percent of American men will have significant hair loss, says the American Hair Loss Association. Now, an international team of hair restoration doctors is turning to cutting-edge science to grow more hair through cloning.
Ric Ortega has dealt with hair loss for a while. For him, it’s a health concern.
“I’m outside a lot because I work in the construction industry, and I worry about skin cancer on the top of my head,” explained Ortega.
Ortega is considering a hair cloning clinical trial with Kenneth Williams, Jr. D.O, a hair restoration surgeon with Orange County Hair Restoration in Irvine, California. Dr. Williams is working with Hair Clone, a British company that believes it will perfect the science of cloning hair.
“The typical candidate would be someone who has had multiple surgeries and can’t have any more hair transplantations, but they do have lots of areas of balding,” Dr. Williams told Ivanhoe.
Doctors would harvest 50 hair follicles and send them to a cryopreservation tank in England. Surgeons there would remove the hair shaft from the bulb, which holds cells that control growth. Then, the cells are multiplied in a special cell culture.
Dr. Williams further detailed, “Then, when the patient is ready, they have the actual transplantation. They would let us know and we’d go through the process of replication, and shortly, those 50 cells will now turn into 1500 cells.”
The trial would cost Ortega between $4,000 and $10,000 plus air fare to England, where he’d get his cloned hair. England is the only western country that allows this type of treatment.
Dr. Williams said hair cloning is the next biggest frontier in hair science. Hair Clone hopes to start a small trial in England later this year. The good news is, companies around the world are racing to start hair cloning trials as soon as they can.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath Supervising Producer; Wendy Chioji, Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Rusty Reed, Videographer.
BACKGROUND: By the age of thirty-five two-thirds of American men will experience some degree of hair loss and by the age of fifty approximately 85 percent of men have significantly thinning hair. Hereditary hair loss that comes with age is the most common cause of baldness, and can happen gradually or suddenly. Types of hair loss include gradual thinning on the top of the head (which is most common), patchy bald spots, sudden hair loss caused by emotional or physical shock, or patches of scaling that spread over the scalp which is a sign of ringworm. The most common cause of hair loss is a hereditary condition called male-pattern baldness. The loss and thinning of hair can begin as early as puberty but usually affects men as they age. Hormone imbalances, immune system issues, radiation therapy to the head, medications, and other skin disorders are causes of hair loss. Poor nutrition, certain medical conditions (such as diabetes and lupus), and stress are some of the risk factors leading to hair loss. Some treatments for hair loss include Rogaine (foam rubbed into the scalp), Propecia (prescription pill), surgery, wigs and hairpieces, or a recent treatment called hair cloning. Source: (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hair-loss/basics/definition/con-20027666)
TREATMENT: Hair cloning is a promising treatment for male-pattern baldness. In hair cloning, a sample of a person’s hair follicle cells are multiplied outside the body (in vitro), and then they are re-implanted into the scalp with the hope that they will grow new hair follicles and result in new permanent hair. The main challenge in cloning is that hair follicles cannot grow on their own, yet they are too complex to be grown in test tubes. There may be safety concerns that cells that induce hair may also induce tumors and once this issue is resolved, the FDA still must approve hair cloning for safety and effectiveness. There are plans for clinical trials in the U.S. and will hopefully be approved in upcoming years. Source: (https://www.bernsteinmedical.com/hair-cloning/)
EMOTIONAL ISSUES ASSOCIATED WITH HAIR LOSS: A study revealed that men who had more profound hair loss were more dissatisfied with their appearance and were more concerned with their look than those with minimal hair loss. Studies have shown that in men who suffer from hair loss, nearly 75% of them feel less confident since the onset of hair loss, especially in dealing with the opposite sex. In extreme circumstances, hair loss can cause distress and result in depression.
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Ken L. Williams, Jr., DO
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