Hair multiplication or hair cloning is a proposed technique to counter hair loss. The technology to clone hair is in its early stages, but multiple groups have demonstrated pieces of the technology at a small scale with a few in commercial development.

Scientists previously assumed that in the case of complete baldness, follicles are completely absent from the scalp, so they cannot be regenerated. However, it was discovered that the follicles are not entirely absent, as there are stem cells in the bald scalp from which the follicles naturally arise. The abnormal behavior of these follicles is suggested to be the result of progenitor cell deficiency in these areas. One recently discovered molecule (SCUBE3), may aid in activating these cells and regrowing hair.[1]

The basic idea of hair cloning is that healthy follicle cells or dermal papillae can be extracted from the subject from areas that are not bald and are not suffering hair loss. They can be multiplied (cloned) by various culturing methods[2] and the new cells can be injected back into the bald scalp, where they would produce healthy hair. In 2015, initial trials for human hair were successful in generating new follicles,[3] but the hairs grew in various different directions, giving an unnatural look. Scientists believe they may have solved this problem by using nearly microscopic 3D-printed shafts to assist follicles growing upward through the scalp. This technique however is still in the research phase and is not available for public or commercial use.

As of 2023, estimates for when there will be successful hair cloning for humans are around 2030-2035; recent advancements in stem cell research and follicle generation mean that balding may be solved in around 10 years.[citation needed]

Research edit

Intercytex edit

One of the first companies to begin experimenting with hair cloning was Intercytex. Researchers at the company were convinced that their approach was the cure for baldness, and if the technology is fully developed, they can basically eliminate hair loss due to hereditary factors. This therapy would also eliminate the need for donor hair, as it can be simply grown from the patient's own cells.[4]

Intercytex tried to clone new hair follicles from the stem cells harvested from the back of the neck. They hoped that if they multiplied (cloned) the follicles and then implanted them back in the scalp in the bald areas they would be successful in regrowing the hair itself. They tested the method in their Phase II trials, which showed very promising results as two-thirds of the bald male patients were able to grow new hair after the treatment.[5]

The company was hoping to complete the research so they can make it available to the public, so they began Phase III trials. They estimated they would be able to finish the process in a few years. However, these tests did not show the expected progress. In 2008 Intercytex admitted that they failed in fully developing the hair cloning therapy and decided to discontinue all research.[6]

This was not solely the result of the failed tests, as the company's financial background also became unstable in 2008 and they had to implement several cost-cutting measures.[7] They laid off a great number of staff members and cut funding to the research projects such as hair cloning. In 2010 they went out of business.[8]

Aderans Research Institute edit

Another firm researching hair cloning was ARI (Aderans Research Institute), a Japanese company that operated in the US and was the greatest competitor of Intercytex in developing the therapy. The company worked on what they called the "Ji Gami" process, which involved the removal of a small strip of the scalp, which is broken down into individual follicular stem cells. After the extraction, these cells are cultured, multiplied, and injected back into the bald areas of the scalp. Scientists hoped that after implantation these cloned follicular cells would mature into full-grown hair.[citation needed]

During Phase II trials they found that the process was not suitable for multiplication but instead, it revitalized the follicles and successfully prevented future loss.[citation needed] The trials continued in 2012. Aderans decided to discontinue the funding of its hair multiplication research in July 2013.[9]

Berlin Technical University edit

The first time scientists were able to grow artificial hair follicles from stem cells was in 2010. Scientists at the Berlin Technical University in Germany took animal cells and created follicles by using them. As a result, they produced follicles "thinner than normal", but they were confident they could develop the right method of cloning hair from human stem cells by 2011. They estimated that the therapy would be publicly available by 2015 as they were already preparing for the clinical trials. Scientists working on the project said if the treatment was finished, it would mean a cure for approximately 80 percent of those who suffer from hair loss.[10]

The university was working together with Intercytex and several other research teams, but they encountered several problems. One of them was that the multiplication process was not efficient enough. They were only able to clone one or two follicles from an extracted hair but for the process to be efficient this number should have been around 1000. There was no indication that researchers were able to overcome this obstacle.[11]

University of Pennsylvania edit

In 2012 scientists from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine published their own findings regarding hair cloning.[12] During their investigation, they found that non-bald and bald scalps have the same number of stem cells, but the progenitor cell number was significantly depleted in the case of the latter. Based on this, they concluded that it is not the absence of the stem cells that are responsible for hair loss but the unsuccessful activation of said cells.[13]

The researchers continued their investigation and are looking for a way to convert regular stem cells into progenitor cells, which could mean they may be able to activate the natural generation of hair on a previously bald scalp.[14][15]

Durham University edit

In late 2013, new results were published by a research team at Durham University which suggested progress. The scientists tried a new method for multiplying, cloning the original cells not in a 2D but in a 3D system.[16]

A team took healthy dermal papillae from hair transplants and dissected them, then cultured them in a petri dish. In 30 hours they were able to produce 3000 dermal papilla cells. The goal was to create dermal papillae that when injected would reprogram cells around it to produce healthy hair. They chose to try the method by injecting the cloned cells in foreskin samples to "challenge" the cells, as the cells in the foreskin normally don't grow hair. The human skin samples were grafted on rats. After six weeks the cloned papillae cells formed brand-new hair follicles which were able to grow hair.[citation needed]

These are early results and as it is a new approach to hair cloning, several more studies and tests have to be conducted before they can move on to human testing. They also encountered new problems, such as that some of the newly grown hair appeared without pigmentation.[citation needed]

RepliCel Life Sciences edit

Vancouver-based firm, RepliCel Life Sciences Inc. has been researching the replacement of hormone-compromised hair follicle cells.

In 2013, RepliCel created a partnership with cosmetics company Shiseido, giving Shiseido an exclusive license to use its RCH-01 technology in Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, and the ASEAN countries.[17] Shiseido trialed RepliCel's RCH-01 in Japan and received modest results.[18] In 2021, RepliCel initiated arbitration against Shiseido and terminated the company's license agreement.[19]

Yokohama National University edit

In October 2022, researchers from the Japan-based Yokohama National University successfully cloned fully-grown mouse hair follicles for the first time in history.[20] It may take 5-10 years for this technology to be tested successfully in humans.

OrganTech / Riken Centre for Developmental Biology edit

In 2016, scientists in Japan announced they had successfully grown human skin in a lab.[21] The skin was created using induced pluripotent stem cells, and when implanted in a mouse, the skin grew hairs successfully. Dr. Takashi Tsuji has sought donations for the group's research. The group has also formed a partnership with Organ Technologies and Kyocera Corporation to commercially develop the research.[22] Organ Technologies secured funding from Kobayashi Pharmaceutical in late 2022 and was renamed to OrganTech in 2023.[23][24] OrganTech hopes to transplant both regenerated hair follicle primordia and what they term "next-generation implants" into humans as soon as Q2 2024.

dNovo Bio edit

dNovo, a Silicon-valley based company, was founded in 2018 and participated in the Y Combinator accelerator.[citation needed] The company has demonstrated its technology by growing a patch of human hair on a mouse.[25]

TrichoSeeds edit

In September 2023, TrichoSeeds together with Rhoto Pharmaceutical was aiming to enter clinical trials in 2024.[26]

Stemson Therapeutics edit

In July 2019, a researcher from San Diego-based Stemson Therapeutics, partnered with UCSD, successfully grew his own follicles on a mouse using iPSC-derived epithelial and dermal cell therapy. The hair grew straight and was aligned properly with a 3D-printed biodegradable shaft. The hairs were permanent and regenerated naturally.[27] Stemson intends to enter clinical trials in 2026.[28]

Epibiotech edit

Epibiotech developed an autologous dermal papilla cell that was scheduled to enter clinical trials at the end of 2023.[29]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ University of California-Irvine (13 August 2022). "New Molecule Discovered That Strongly Stimulates Hair Growth". SciTechDaily. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
  2. ^ "Methods of Hair cloning". 21 July 2020. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  3. ^ "Grow New Follicles". 14 December 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  4. ^ "Hair Care and Trichology | Health Articles | The Future of Hair Restoration". 31 January 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  5. ^ "Detail How Intercytex Failed Fully In Developing Hair Cloning Therapy". HD Hairlines. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  6. ^ "Detail How Intercytex Failed Fully In Developing Hair Cloning Therapy". HD Hairlines. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  7. ^ "Intercytex Discontinues its Hair Multiplication Development Operations | Hair Loss Q & A". 7 January 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  8. ^ "Intercytex to quit stock market and change its name". Manchester Evening News. 7 December 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  9. ^ "Aderans to no Longer Fund its Hair Multiplication Research | Hair Loss Q & A". 30 July 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  10. ^ "Study: Cure for Baldness Could Happen in 5 Years". Fox News. 16 December 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  11. ^ "Stem Cell Research and Hair Loss". Stem Cell Hair Replacement. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  12. ^ "Perelman School of Medicine Experts Identify Inhibitor Causing Male Pattern Baldness and Target for Hair Loss Treatments".
  13. ^ Chueh SC, Lin SJ, Chen CC, Lei M, Wang LM, Widelitz R, et al. (March 2013). "Therapeutic strategy for hair regeneration: hair cycle activation, niche environment modulation, wound-induced follicle neogenesis, and stem cell engineering". Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy. 13 (3): 377–391. doi:10.1517/14712598.2013.739601. PMC 3706200. PMID 23289545.
  14. ^ "Penn Medicine News: Male Pattern Balding May Be Due to Stem Cell Inactivation, According to Penn Study". 4 January 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  15. ^ "Stem cells hold key to cure for baldness - health - 05 January 2011". New Scientist. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  16. ^ "3D drops raise hopes of cure for baldness - health - 21 October 2013". New Scientist. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  17. ^ Jefferson RS. "Company Uses Patients' Own Cells To Put An End To Baldness, Aging Skin And Tendon Degeneration". Forbes. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Shiseido Releases RCH-01 Trial Results 2020 – Follicle Thought". Retrieved 3 October 2022.
  19. ^ "RepliCel Terminates License Agreement with Shiseido". Retrieved 3 October 2022.
  20. ^ Kageyama T, Shimizu A, Anakama R, Nakajima R, Suzuki K, Okubo Y, Fukuda J (October 2022). "Reprogramming of three-dimensional microenvironments for in vitro hair follicle induction". Science Advances. 8 (42): eadd4603. Bibcode:2022SciA....8D4603K. doi:10.1126/sciadv.add4603. PMC 9586475. PMID 36269827.
  21. ^ Takagi R, Ishimaru J, Sugawara A, Toyoshima KE, Ishida K, Ogawa M, et al. (April 2016). "Bioengineering a 3D integumentary organ system from iPS cells using an in vivo transplantation model". Science Advances. 2 (4): e1500887. Bibcode:2016SciA....2E0887T. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1500887. PMC 4820374. PMID 27051874.
  22. ^ "Kyocera Corporation, RIKEN And Organ Technologies Launch Joint Research In Regenerative Medicine To Treat Hair Loss". BioSpace. Retrieved 3 October 2022.
  23. ^ "Organ Technologies is back as OrganTech".
  24. ^ "OrganTech Hair Cloning Interview 2023 – Follicle Thought". Retrieved 9 January 2024.
  25. ^ "Going bald? Lab-grown hair cells could be on the way". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 3 October 2022.
  26. ^ "Fukuda Lab TrichoSeeds Co. Hair Cloning Clinical Trial Update – Follicle Thought". Retrieved 9 January 2024.
  27. ^ "Functional hair follicles grown from stem cells". Eurekalert. 12 July 2019.
  28. ^ "Hair Cloning Research And Progress 2023 – Follicle Thought". Retrieved 9 January 2024.
  29. ^ "Epibiotech EPI-001 Hair Regrowth Cell Therapy Update – Follicle Thought". Retrieved 9 January 2024.

Further reading edit