Category Archives: Bessam Farjo

Hair Rejuvenation versus Hair Cloning

A very interesting article that explores the difference between hair rejuvenation and hair cloning (or hair multiplication) was published yesterday. The interview itself took place “a little while ago”.

The article author interviewed Dr. Bessam Farjo (highly optimistic), Dr. Sara Wasserbauer (optimistic) and Dr. Antonella Tosti (more cautious). Both Dr. Farjo and Dr. Wasserbauer are associated with HairClone (UK), who I have covered on this blog since 2016. This company is scheduled to begin its “cell expansion services” in 2022.

See the below video for CEO Dr. Paul Kemp’s last update from 2021. I will likely be interviewing him later this year for a second time.

Edit: A 2009 paper from Intercytex scientists was titled: “Hair follicle neogenesis induced by cultured human scalp dermal papilla cells“. It has Dr. Kemp as a co-author since he was the CEO of Intercytex at the time.

Currently, HairClone is only banking your hair follicles for future cell cloning. If you are in the US, you can check out Dr. Wasserbauer’s site for more details on the follicle banking services.

Hair Rejuvenation of Dermal Papilla Cells versus Hair Cloning

What I find interesting in this article is that for the first time that I can recall, a  clear distinction is made between hair cloning and hair rejuvenation. The latter is undertaken via the “hair cloning” of dermal papillae and injection into thinning scalps.

According to Dr. Sara Wasserbauer, actual hair cloning (i.e. making a brand new follicle in the lab that then regenerates itself in a regular hair cycle) is still 10-20 year away. However:

“What is imminent is the cloning of dermal papillae cells, which serves to thicken existing thinning hair.”

Dr. Wasserbauer is discussing Hairclone’s technology here. Some would still call the replication of dermal papilla cells in the lab to be hair cloning or hair multiplication. However, in this article, they imply a better phrase to be “hair rejuvenation” or even “hair regeneration”.

  • Dr. Farjo (UK) thinks that HairClone’s procedure could be available to patients as early as the end of 2022/beginning of 2023.
  • Dr. Wasserbauer (US) thinks 2025/2026 is more likely, “barring any further Covid-related delays”.

However, Dr. Tosti seems skeptical:

Some experts, however, doubt the imminence of this technology. “The idea is there — to introduce stem cells into the follicle to increase the population of dermal papillae in order to grow thicker hair — but this is not happening right now,” says Dr. Tosti. “The published papers didn’t show that. It’s far from being close in clinical studies.”

One caveat is that the UK has favorable regulations that I have mentioned several times in the past. So this autologous cell injection procedure can be tested on patients in clinical settings under doctor supervision. With no published papers or clinical trials necessary.

According to the article, the most suitable candidates will be those who have not gone completely bald yet. It seems like even if you have some remaining hair in the permanent donor area, the procedure might be the wrong choice if you are completely bald in the rest of your scalp.

In general, you can expect significant thickening of existing thinning hair if HairClone’s procedure works. Perhaps they can improve on the results with more experience and also help Norwood 6 level bald men down the road?

Repeat Cell Injection Treatments Required

Note that HairClone’s procedure may be necessary up to three times over the course of a 10-year period. This is because male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss are both progressive conditions.

Because this procedure is not yet US FDA approved, the stem cell injections will initially have to take place in the UK. The FDA will possibly grant approval to store tissue at US storage facilities sometime in 2022.

The combined cost for banking, storage and injection will likely be on par with that of a hair transplant.

HairClone to Offer Cell Expansion Service in 2022

I first covered UK based HairClone in 2016 in this very post (original version at the bottom). Then I interviewed the company’s CEO Dr. Paul Kemp several times, and wrote an update on HairClone’s hair follicle banking service in May 2021.

Update: October 15, 2021

HairClone to Start Cell Expansion in Early 2022

I always assumed that HairClone’s actual hair cloning or hair multiplication procedure was still years away. They have yet to even start human clinical trials. However, when it comes to autologous hair cell multiplication and transplantation, the UK has less stringent guidelines when it comes to testing in humans. Clinicians can offer unlicensed procedures prior to clinical trials. Japan also has some similar favorable regulations.

What an incredible surprise (h/t “Tony”) to then find this encouraging new below interview of Dr. Paul Kemp! He is one of the keynote speakers at the upcoming ISHRS 2021 conference. His presentation will be titled: “The Evolution of the Promise of Hair Cloning: How Hair Cell Cloning will Fit Into Your Practice.”

HairClone will offer its cell expansion hair multiplication services on a select basis in certain clinics in the UK starting in early 2022. Dr. Kemp has consulted with regulators and they are very supportive of this step. It is a way to ensure that future expensive and lengthy clinical trials have a much greater chance of success.

“What we are planning to do early next year is offer a cell expansion service.”

— Paul Kemp (at 15.:50 into the below video).

Note that Mr. Kemp was previously CEO of Intercytex and has decades of experience in  the regenerative medicine and hair space.

September 8, 2016

During the past few months, there have been a few new companies entering the hair regeneration sector. Today, I learnt about yet another new entrant into the field named HairClone that warranted its own post. As yet, I do not consider HairClone anywhere near as important as the established entities such as the RIKEN/Kyocera/Tsuji partnership (Japan); or the Shiseido/Replicel partnership (Japan).

HairClone

I will briefly analyze HairClone via its positives and negatives:

Positives

  • The renowned and widely respected researcher Dr. Claire Higgins joined HairClone’s advisory board on August 30th (but alse read my comment on her in the “Negatives” section below).

  • HairClone will be hiring more scientific advisers besides Dr. Claire Higgins in the near future. Would be great if they tried to get Dr. Roland Lauster into the team.
  • HairClone has devised a very unique and creative way to get funding, and that includes: crowdfunding; giving people who fund the company’s research preference when the actual treatment comes out; allowing investment in equity; offering leading hair transplant clinics around the world membership opportunities; and most interesting of all, hair follicle banking and storage.

Negatives

  • By far the biggest negative is that this is still way too early in the game and who knows when trials will commence, and whether the company will succeed with its dermal papilla focused cloning technology in the first place. Or even if they manage to get sufficient funding.
  • Related to the above, when Solomon interviewed Dr. Claire Higgins earlier this year, she generally sounded pessimistic about new treatments and said the following about cloning. Update: Solomon corrected me in the comments and said she was only talking about cell injections. But I think she sounded pessimistic about the hair cloning time-frame in the whole interview:

“I think the future (but it’s not in 4 years or 5 years away, it’s like in 20 years) is to promote direct conversion of fibroblasts into papillae. But something like this will take decades. We don’t know how to do that yet.”

I am hoping that Dr. Higgins will change her prediction to 10 years if her lab and research work gets significantly more resources as a result of HairClone. Thankfully, she said that she was not exactly sure about Dr. Tsuji’s work and neither did she list Shiseido’s trials in Japan in her list of ongoing trial examples. So maybe she is just entirely focused on her own work and not following others too much.

Twenty years would be too big a gamble to invest in a company such as HairClone. I hope Dr. Bessam Farjo has other ideas and is hoping for much faster completion of clinical trials. And hopefully he is not only relying on Dr. Higgins’ dermal papilla related work.

Note: The company website has some typos, flow issues and seems somewhat haphazardly put together at the moment. It even includes “hello-world” and placeholder type pages.