Prediction for 2011: Further Advances in "Auto-Cloning" Hair
Looking ahead to the biggest developments on the horizon in the hair restoration field in 2011 and beyond, we are very excited about the use of ACell technology in regenerating hair follicles. I attended the International Society for Hair Restoration (ISHRS) Scientific Meeting in Boston a couple months ago where two doctors -- Drs. Jerry Cooley and Gary Hitzig -- presented their successful use of ACell “MatriStem® devices in plucked hairs.
ACell, Inc. has developed and refined a natural biological material derived from pig tissue that they have termed an Extracellular Matrix (ECM). The ECM stimulates the body’s own cells to form new tissue specific to that site.
Researchers have found that when ACell’s MatriStem product is placed into a surgical site or wound, it is reabsorbed and replaced with new, more supple tissue, rather than a firm scar. MicroMatrix has experience of use in keloids, other types of wounds, and in the treatment of lacerations, ulcers of the skin and burns. There have also been examples of people who have used ACell MatriStem to actually regrow finger tips that have been sliced off – including the nail.
The presentation in Boston illustrated how ACell can be used to regenerate hair follicles. First, hairs were plucked out of the beard or side hair, then the best hair follicles were selected. The ACell was applied to the plucked hairs and then placed into recipient sites. While slightly less than 50 percent of these hairs grew, the good news is that the site where the hair was plucked also grew out hair, a result that the researchers have termed “auto-cloning.”
In this brief video, I describe the exciting ACell advances: Basically, the presentation suggested that the dream of getting new hair without having to sacrifice hair from the donor site could be realized in the coming years. This is a major breakthrough and I expect we will learn more in 2011 as the understanding of the procedure matures.
As 2011 progresses, we will be keeping a close eye on advances in research into the use of ACell for scalp hair multiplication as well as the facilitation of wound healing in follicular unit transplantation procedures. As new developments are unveiled, we will keep our community updated.
I do want to emphasize that significant work remains before this becomes a practical hair loss treatment. The research is at a very early stage and there is clearly no defined process to maximize the likelihood of success at this point. But the theory that is being developed is that new hairs can come from the process.
To learn more about advances in ACell technology for use in hair restoration, I recommend reviewing the ISHRS presentation by Dr. Jerry Cooley.