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Researchers in the US and England are teaming up to help keep hair on people's heads. Their new weapon: Cloning.
Ric Ortega has dealt with hair loss for a while. For him, it's a health concern.
Ortega says, "I'm outside a lot because I work in the construction industry, and I worry about skin cancer on the top of my head."
Ortega is considering a hair cloning clinical trial with Dr. Ken Williams. Dr. Williams is working with, hair clone, a British company that believes it will perfect the science of cloning hair.
Dr. Williams, a hair restoration surgeon at Orange County Hair Restoration says, "The typical candidate would be someone who has had multiple surgeries and can't have any more hair transplantations, but they have lots of areas of balding."
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 says, "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 getting those 50 cells will now turn in to 1500 cells."
The trial would cost Ortega between four and ten-thousand dollars 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 says hair cloning is the next biggest frontier in hair science. Hair clone hopes to start a small trial in England later this year.