If men can harvest their sperm and women can harvest their eggs to preserve future fertility through freezing, it is only natural to wonder if those at risk of hair loss can harvest some hair follicles to bank for future need.
There are a number of labs around the world working on this, particularly the concept of ‘cloning’ the harvested follicles in the hope of multiplying the number available to re-implant into the scalp. Currently cloning is illegal in US, so a leading US hair loss specialist Dr Ken Williams has teamed up with British company HairClone who hope to undertake clinical trials over the next 3-5 years.
The main challenge so far is the discovery that only a small number of germinative cells can be extracted with each shaft of hair which will survive re-implantation into the scalp. This potentially limits results unless a work around can be found.
Elsewhere in the world, it is stem cell therapy which excites hair loss scientists, though again it will be some years until we can hope to see a widely available and proven treatment. It also has the attraction for the client of being minimally invasive with potential for being less costly as a result.