HAIRCLONE® IS A NEW AND UNIQUE BIOTECHNOLOGY COMPANY - DR. WASSERBAUER IS PROUD TO PARTNER WITH THEM TO BRING HAIR REJUVENATION AND REGENERATION INTO ROUTINE CLINICAL PRACTICE AND MAKE HAIR LOSS A THING OF THE PAST.
HOW IS HAIR LOST?
Hair is a naturally regenerating mini-organ. It goes through periods of growth, then resting, shedding and regeneration as shown in the diagram below. This process is controlled by a very specific group of stem-like cells at the base of the hair follicle called Dermal Papilla (DP) cells. The number of these cells determines the thickness of the hair shaft that is produced by the sheath cells. A full thickness hair on the scalp is called a terminal hair. With some hairs, at each hair cycle the number of DP cells is reduced and the subsequent hair is thinner. Eventually, it is too thin to have a full cosmetic effect and is termed a vellus hair.
Watch Dr. Wasserbauer Explain Hair Banking
WHAT IS THE HAIRCLONE™ CONCEPT?
Approximately 50 hair follicular units would be taken at our clinic under local anesthetic. This would be about a 30-90 minute procedure and would require the surgeon taking out the follicular units using a tiny punch extractor. The patient’s own hair should comfortably hide the harvest sites and he/she can go back to normal life almost immediately. Initially these follicular units would be cryopreserved and banked until needed.
When required, some of the follicular units would be taken from the bank and processed to isolate the specific cells involved in the production of the hair shaft itself. These cells would be grown in culture in licensed laboratories and they would divide and multiply rapidly over 2-4 weeks. These expanded cells would then be transported back to the clinic and micro-injected into the patient’s scalp where needed where they would be expected to migrate to miniaturising follicles and rebuild the thinning vellus hairs causing them to produce thicker terminal hair shafts and regain a more youthful appearance. In a later version of the product injected cells would be able to create brand new hair follicles by a process called follicle neogenesis.
WHAT RESEARCH IS NEEDED TO MAKE HAIR MULTIPLICATION A REALITY
There is over 40 years of basic research already to support this concept and the HairClone team have extensive experience in this area. Although more scientific and clinical research is still needed before this concept can be fully developed, we believe that this could be a reality in 2-3 years as many of the steps needed are already known such as:
- Method to remove the follicular units
- Method to cryopreserve hair follicles
- Method to cryobank cells for many years
- Method to micro-dissect out the required cells from the hair follicle
- Method to micro-inject follicle cells back into the scalp
- Monitoring systems to measure hair shaft thickness and hair density
The main questions that research needs to determine are:
- The best markers to use to measure hair follicle inductivity
- The optimum system to expand cells in culture in order to maintain inductivity
- The mechanisms by which re-implanted cells rejuvenate and regenerate hair follicles
WHY BANK NOW?
Banking now has several advantages
- Banking at the earliest opportunity “stops the clock” on the banked follicles ageing so the cells will be the most active when the treatment system is available and you need treatment
- Banking allows multiple treatments from the one simple surgery
- Banking follicles is the first step and those patients with banked follicles will therefore be first in line for the treatment once it is available
- All profits from the banking will go to accelerating the development of the R&D to bring the treatment to the clinic
- Follicles remain the property of the patient and could be used for other treatments if the patient decides to transfer them
HAIR FOLLICLE BANKING
There is an increasing amount of scientific evidence that would indicate that hair cells and hair transplant quality decreases with age. Therefore, harvesting and banking hair cells at an early age will be expected to preserve high cell potency for future uses.
WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF BANKING?
The steps from hair donation to cell cryopreservation are already developed so banking now puts these patients “first in line” for transplantation of their hair cells to rebuild miniaturizing follicles as soon as regulatory authorization is obtained. Once a treatment is available the HairClone concept will not stop the underlying thinning process so will need to be repeated every 2-3 years in order to rebuild newly miniaturizing follicles and maintain hair density as the patient’s own hair thins. HairClone has authorization from the UK’s Human Tissue Authority through an agreement with an established tissue bank to begin follicle banking. The banking is the first stage in the process and HairClone is now working with a licensed cell manufacturing facility to develop authorizations to enable them to expand cells from cryopreserved follicles HairClone will then offer a “Cell Expansion Service” ahead of gaining marketing license for the expanded cell therapy which would be regulated by the European Medicine’s Agency (EMA) as an Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product (ATMP) and By the U.S’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a Biologic.
Exciting and rapid progress in developmental biology will provide the scientific basis for this ground breaking new treatment and we expect that this could be in the clinic within the next few years although it will take several years before it is fully licensed around the world.