Conflict gives rise to a new
August 3, 2001 - Los
Last month, we broke the news on an
article in regards to a Dr. Gho who is reported to be developing a
technology called "Hair Multiplication" which
theoretically could end up replacing traditional hair transplant
techniques. The article discussed an application into the
European Hair Research Society which was ultimately rejected due (in part)
to the absence of any published information on the procedure he has
been developing. After the publishing of this article, we
received an onslaught of angry emails and posts from a group of Gho
supporters on another web site.
Fortunately, many were
watching, and all the negative attention resulted in the folks at Clonemyhair.com
reviewing our site and contacting us to discuss working together! They found our site informative and helpful, and
were interested in working with us to bring scientifically based
information on this potential new technology to you, our
users. Consequently, we are happy to announce that we have agreed to affiliate with
Clonemyhair.com, and hope that you will check out their site frequently for more information,
written by those in the medical field who have this area of research
as their specialty. We'd like to thank all those who went out
of their way to help make this affiliation come about :)
had the pleasure of speaking with the founder of Clonemyhair.com,
and getting his take on everything from the future of hair cloning
in general, to his thoughts on Dr. Gho, the patent on Hair
Multiplication, and the future of Hair Cloning as it relates to all
different forms of Alopecia.
Tell us about the web
site. What is its main purpose, and why does it exist?
What kind of goals do u have for it?
Basically its a web site
intended to discuss the coming technology of Hair Cloning.
Hair cloning includes any kind of procedure that involves stem
cells, or dermal papilla cells that will be cloned in laboratories,
multiplied, and then combined in order to multiply the number of
hairs. Hair multiplication is really just another term for
hair cloning, and hair cloning is the more appropriate term for the
procedure which will most likely be coming. Once hair cloning
has come, we hope to continue providing information on it on our
So basically you made the
site in anticipation for the upcoming procedure, and you hope it to
be the major source of information on the topic when it arrives?
Not necessarily THE major
source on the topic, but one of them. For me it is not really
about getting traffic or notoriety. I made the site for those
who have serious questions on this procedure, and who want serious
scientifically based answers, rather than gossip and rumors.
Could you go into your
educational background on this topic?
At this time I have my
bachelors in Medical Science, and I am completing my PHD in
Pathobiology. Pathobiology is pathology with a specialization
in diseases such as Cancer and HIV. There is a focus on Tissue
engineering. Its really a mixed bag. Less medicine, and
more science and technology.
What got you interested in
this area of hair loss research to the point that you created this
site and pursued this type of education?
Well originally I just
decided to register a domain name, and over time, it has evolved
into an information source on the topic. I have a lot of
interest in the area of cloning, which is a big topic in the news
today. Not just cloning of cells but also cloning of animals
and larger organisms. I began looking into hair follicle
cloning and decided to register a couple more domain names -
hairaid.com which has a little more information but at this point
they all point to clonemyhair.com.
Do you personally feel that
hair multiplication, or cloning, is going to be considered the
ultimate cure to hair loss in the future? There are differing
views on its level of effectiveness...
Hair cloning, or induction of hair follicle
neogenesis in an adult mammal, including a human will be possible. In fact,
the experimental possibility of this has been proven in numerous studies. I believe that anybody who is doing this sort of
research can actually multiply hair follicles, because more
recently, they were transplanting non dermal papilla cells and
dermal papilla cells. They did a culture and showed that they
could multiply the number of dermal papilla cells, so this means
they can multiply hair as well. As far as whether it will be a
cure for hair loss? It is impossible to answer this question at this
point, since no effective, clinically applicable technique exists at this point
nor statistical information on the possible complications. Once we
have the data, this question can be answered. BTW, on our site we have voting polls concerning
possible hair cloning side effects. Personally, I am a strong believer
in the possibility of hair tissue engineering, coupled with targeted
gene therapy as novel and very promising treatment for those suffering from hair
into the types of cells which will be used for Hair Cloning
It is not clear, what type of cells are used for
transplantation. This is a VERY crucial issue. To my understanding cells of the bottoms of plucked anagen
fibers are used to establish the initial culture. At this point
the predominant theory is, that, at least in pelage hair follicles, like the ones on our head, the ultimate stem cells are located in the bulge region.
The bottom of the plucked fiber on an anagen hair follicle is represented predominantly by transient
amplifiers - that is, cells having limited proliferative and morphogenic
properties. These are capable of proliferating fast but for a limited period of time.
Then, they undergo final differentiation or apoptosis - cell death.
Personally, I don't see how these predetermined cells can participate in the
process of hair follicle neogenesis. This demands a great morphogenic plasticity and
responsiveness from interacting cells. I am sure that this will be the
question asked by many people, and it should be answered. Yet, this year
a new hypothesis of epithelial cells trafficking was proposed which
states that a little portion of matrix cells are represented by
"germinative cells", transient type between true stem cells of the bulge and
transient amplifiers of the matrix. It is possible that these cells are involved
in hair multiplication. But, still, the existence of these "germinative cells" population was
experimentally proved only for the vibrissae hair follicle, which is very
different from the pelage hair follicle. Therefore, it is an interesting hypothesis, but we need direct
experimental proof of it.
How does all of this fit in
with Gho's Hair Multiplication?
it comes to Hair Multiplication (this should be differentiated from
Hair Cloning) as is being discussed with Dr. Gho, personally, at
this time, I am not sure it will work. I really am unable to
state a definite position and opinion on this topic as far as saying
whether it will or will not definitely work. The reason for
this is that there is no hard scientific evidence either in favor or
against it. The only reliable source of information we have
about hair multiplication is the European patent by Dr. Gho, and it
was written in Dutch with a very non-medically worded, unclear rough
translation into English. It almost sounds like a computerized
automatic translation. Many of the medical terms and
biological terms are not correctly translated.
Where can we see this
If you go to our site, we
have put a link to the Gho patent in our Links Directory under
Research. If you go to the web page for European patents, you
can search for his name "Gho" and you will find his
Do you feel that the poor
translation is a reflection on Gho's medical background, or is it
properly in Dutch and the translator just had a hard time with it?
He is most likely responsible
for the Dutch, which may be scientifically well worded, however I do
not speak Dutch so I am unable to verify. However, what we
have to go by in English is not enough to even determine what it is
Dr. Gho is planning to do with his technology. Additionally
none of his work has been published in any major journals.
From the outset, back in 1998 he hasn't released any information on
it whatsoever. This kind of conduct is not the way scientists
should do their work. This is not how it is done. If
they have information, they publish it. Consequently, I am not
going to comment on Dr. Gho's work at all at this time. I will
only give a full evaluation on the legitimacy of his work and
whether I feel it will work only if he will agree to start
publishing his work in the major journals. If his work is
published, this means that top scientists will begin to look into
his work, and evaluate it, and decide if it is worthwhile to even
discuss. Until Dr. Gho publishes his work, there is absolutely
no reason to be spending time talking about it or wondering about it
or putting hopes in it. At this time, its like he does not
exist in the eyes of the medical community.
Well his work right now does
not have any scientific value unless it is published. This is
the general rule.
Have you heard of the company
called Intercytex, which is also has a Hair Regeneration research
program under way?
No I haven't, what is it?
They describe the process as
follows: A novel method for transplant of dermal follicular cells.
They say the technology could be used as a means of regenerating hair at sites of baldness; in principle, overcoming the need to remove whole hairs from one part of the body prior to transplant at a site of baldness. Moreover, this approach opens the potential for large numbers of hair-generating cells to be expanded in culture and packaged as a one-step solution to hair-loss. The exact market size is difficult to determine as there are no products of this type on the market; however, the US is known to spend over $1.5 billion on products sold to remedy the onset of hair loss or baldness. The aim of this programme is to commence autologous ‘proof of principle’ clinical evaluation within a two year period. This will be rapidly followed by clinical evaluation of an allogeneic prototype.
Based on how much you know
about this technology - and how realistic it is as far as cost to
perform, as far as how far we are away from actually being able to
perform it scientifically speaking, how realistic it is as far as
timelines, and the necessary FDA approvals, and all these other
things that may be involved... how long do you see the Hair Cloning
technology taking to get to market and General Commercial
Availability for consumers in the United States? Lets talk
about it as a technology completely separate from Dr. Gho, and based
entirely upon the many restrictions and red tape involved in
something like this. Give us a best case time estimate.
Best case - we would have to
assume that there is some laboratory that already has this procedure
well established and has all the documentation and trials completed
to prove the technology, then we're looking at between 3 and 5
Do you anticipate Hair
Cloning to be a procedure that will help those with other forms of
Alopecia including Alopecia Areata and others?
Alopecia Areata is an
auto-immune disease, and there is a completely different treatment
for this. Treatment of this kind of hair loss revolves around
dealing with the auto-immune response, whereas cloning will be used
mainly to help eliminate the need for donor areas as we currently
see with standard Hair Transplant procedures. Currently hair,
is taken from the back of the head via a strip of skin cut out and
then stitched back up. Hair Cloning will help those with
extensive hair loss who have a limited donor area.
What about Cost?
There seems to be an opinion
going around that the cost for this type of procedure will be about
the same as a traditional Hair Transplant. Based on what I can
see about the procedure itself, I don't agree. It is a far
more complicated process that will involve hair cultivation, and
will require a specially equipped laboratory which costs a lot of
money. Traditional hair transplantation is much more basic,
and I would expect that a procedure like hair cloning, when it first
becomes available, will be 3 to 4 times more expensive per graft,
than a traditional hair transplant.