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August / September 2001 Newsletter

HairlossSucks teams with new Hair Cloning Site 

No portion of this newsletter may be used without the permission of HairlossSucks.com.  You may contact us at news@HairlossSucks.com if you wish to reproduce an article on your site.

Conflict gives rise to a new Affiliation 
August 3, 2001 - Los Angeles CA

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 :)


Introducing CloneMyHair.com:

We 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.

HairlossSucks:  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?

CloneMyHair:  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 site.  

HairlossSucks:  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?

CloneMyHair:  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.

HairlossSucks:  Could you go into your educational background on this topic?

CloneMyHair:  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.  

HairlossSucks:  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?

CloneMyHair:  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.  

HairlossSucks:  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...

CloneMyHair:  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 loss.

HairlossSucks:  Go into the types of cells which will be used for Hair Cloning

CloneMyHair:  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. 

HairlossSucks:  How does all of this fit in with Gho's Hair Multiplication?

CloneMyHair:  When 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.  

HairlossSucks:  Where can we see this translation?

CloneMyHair:  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 patent.

HairlossSucks:  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?

CloneMyHair:  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.  

HairlossSucks:  Strong words!

CloneMyHair:  Well his work right now does not have any scientific value unless it is published.  This is the general rule.

HairlossSucks:  Have you heard of the company called Intercytex, which is also has a Hair Regeneration research program under way?

CloneMyHair:  No I haven't, what is it?

HairlossSucks:  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.

HairlossSucks:  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.

CloneMyHair:  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 years.

HairlossSucks:  Do you anticipate Hair Cloning to be a procedure that will help those with other forms of Alopecia including Alopecia Areata and others?

CloneMyHair:  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.

HairlossSucks:  What about Cost?

CloneMyHair:  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.



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