Category Archives: Allogeneic Hair Transplant

Man gets Hair and Kidney 20 Years Apart from Same Donor

In 2019, I wrote a post about an allogeneic hair transplant success (in “humanized” mice) from South Korea. The scientists managed to do this via eliminating dendritic cells from donor hair using ultraviolet B radiation. Unfortunately, no new updates about this work potentially being done in humans has come out despite earlier optimism. Also see my 2015 post on person-to-person hair transplants.

As far back as 1999, Dr. Colin Jahoda successfully transplanted several of his scalp hairs to his wife’s arm, from which four hairs grew. This was termed to be the world’s first successful human hair transplant between people. Also note that bone marrow transplant patients can undergo an allotransplant of hair from the same bone marrow donor.

Normal organ transplants from a donor to a recipient require the lifelong use of immune suppressants, which can cause many side effects. However, when it comes to allogeneic hair transplants, some scientists think that they can be done without the need for immunosuppressants in the future. i.e., hair is not the same as other organs. This would eliminate the biggest problem with autologous hair transplants: insufficient donor hair to cover up the entire bald region of the scalp.

Man gets Hair and Kidney from Another Person

Last week, a very interesting new study came out that was co-authored by Dr. Sanusi Umar (US) and Dr. Felix Mircea Popescu (Romania). It is titled: “Allogeneic Hair Transplant in a Kidney Transplant Recipient.”

Two decades ago, a now 60-year-old man received a kidney from an unrelated donor friend. Come 2022, the same man decided to get a hair transplant using donor hair from that same kidney donor friend. What a tremendous friend! The before and after results turned out great:

Person to Person Hair Transplant
Person to person hair transplant from the same donor who previously gave a kidney. Source: Dermatologic Surgery. August 1, 2023.

Note that this whole process worked because the recipient had already received a well-tolerated 2-decade–long immunosuppressant regimen in order to prevent kidney rejection. He is continuing with this regimen that consists of tacrolimus 2.5 mg/kg/d, mycophenolate mofetil 500 mg/d, and prednisone 0.5 mg/kg/d. So for the purposes of this person-to-person hair transplant, no new medications were needed.

According to the authors, additional hair transplants are planned for this patient so as to address his remaining bald areas. They will use an expanded donor hair supply by combining autologous and allogeneic grafts.

What better reason than this to wish that your friend lives for over 100 years?

Also of Interest:

First ever skull and scalp transplant.

— Face, organ, and limb transplants: and immunosuppressive drugs.

Allogeneic Hair Transplant Success

One of the most common questions that people suffering from hair loss ask is why one cannot perform a hair transplant from one person to another? i.e., an allogeneic hair transplant.

If this were possible, it would essentially be a hair loss cure. There would be no shortage of people with stellar hairlines that would be willing to donate a fraction or their hair to balding men and women for a decent price. My father would give me some of his for free.

Unfortunately, the biggest issue with person-to-person hair transplants is rejection of foreign material. The only way to overcome this problem would be via the recipient taking immunosuppressants for life, which is potentially very dangerous.

Allogeneic Hair Transplant Success: No Immunosuppressants

A few days ago, it was announced that researchers from Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) had successfully conducted an allogeneic hair transplant without the use of immunosuppressants. The research team was led by Professor Kwon Oh-sang.

Professor Kwon Oh-sang
Allogeneic hair transplant researcher Dr. Kwon Oh-sang.

While this particular success involved 24 mice-to-mice hair transplants rather than person-to-person hair transplants, it is still absolutely groundbreaking.

Moreover, the mice immune systems were “humanized” via hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Nevertheless, this story was not covered by any newspapers or online publications in the western world. No idea why as some of them (especially the superficial Daily Mail) have excellent coverage of groundbreaking hair related stories.

Normal hair transplants as we know them are autologous. Meaning that a person has his own grafts moved from his donor site to his recipient site. Allogeneic hair transplants are an entirely different animal.

Remove the Dendritic Cells

In this latest South Korean research, the scientists overcame immune system rejection of donor hair by eliminating dendritic cells. The team used ultraviolet B radiation to remove all the donor dendritic cells that were present in the donor hair follicles.

Interestingly, the scientists point out that hair follicles are less likely to be rejected by the immune system than other organs such as the heart, kidney and so on. In this regard, hair follicles are a bit like the cornea in terms of immune privilege.

According to the team, hair follicles are independent organs present in the skin and have an “immune privilege” that is relatively free from immune rejection. As the brain and cornea also have this privilege, the team could reproduce the same state of hair follicles that existed in people’s bodies by removing the donor dendritic cells involved in direct antigen presentation.

According the Dr. Oh-sang, such an allogeneic hair transplant procedure will be challenging to apply in practice when it comes to humans. However, this discovery does create new potential applications that were not possible before.

I wonder if he plans to start experimenting with part-autologous and part-allogeneic hair transplant procedures in humans in the near future? Most likely, donors will be selected via Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA) matching.

Also of Interest:

First ever skull and scalp transplant.

— Face, organ, and limb transplants: and immunosuppressive drugs.