Although Dr. Kemp has been in touch with me a few times since 2016, I have been reluctant to write more posts on HairClone during the past several years. I did not want to repeat the same news unless there was truly a groundbreaking development. Moreover, since Dr. Kemp was formerly the CEO of Intercytex, I was a bit wary of yet another disappointment for us hair loss sufferers.
HairClone Begins Follicle Banking
In any event, it seems like HairClone has not disbanded or gone silent, but is moving forward full steam. The company is starting its follicle banking service after getting UK government approval earlier this week. In fact the company will be the world’s first ever hair follicle banking system. Press release: HairClone follicle banking.
The logic behind banking your currently healthy hair folicles is similar to the logic behind banking young sperm, of your young eggs, or even newborn umbilical cord blood banking.
Both males and females over age 18 will be able to have around 50 follicle units extracted, cryopreserved and stored for future use (when hair multiplication or cloning type treatments are available). Cryopreservation and storage of hair follicles at -150C at essentially “stops the clock” when it comes to further hair loss, thinning or miniaturization.
Dr. Kemp sent me the below email a few days ago:
Dear HLC2020 Admin,
It has been some months since we last chatted but I just wanted to let you know that we have been working hard and have now been authorised by the UK’s Human Tissue Authority (HTA) to begin to bank cryopreserved follicles. In order to gain this approval we had to carry out extensive validation studies to show that we could reproducibly extract human follicles, cryopreserve them, ship, test and thaw them then extract viable cells that could be culture expanded. We first submitted the licence application in January and then there was a series of questions some of which needed additional work but the result is an incredibly well understood robust process so the time was well spent.
The HTA stress that this does not authorise or approve treatment and gaining that approval is the next stage in our strategy. We are all set to develop the GMP validation data for culture expanded follicle cells and just need to raise the funds to do this. As you know, we tried to do this through crowdfunding but unfortunately weren’t successful so are looking at alternative funding sources. This has given a significant delay to our original timelines.
Banking will be available through our clinical partners and banking associates who will be licensed procurement centres and we plan to increase the number of these partners and associates over the coming months.
Cryopreservation and banking is just the first step in the process but important elements to note are:
- It will be available to both men and women.
- Banking will allow multiple treatments from one initial surgery.
- Banking at the earliest possible stage “stops the clock” on further ageing of the cells.
- As patients with banked follicles have already undergone the surgery step they will be first in line for cell expansion when treatments are authorised.
- The follicles remain the property of the patient so could be used in other treatments if the patient prefers.
The next stage is to work with our clinical partners to develop a system to rebuild miniaturising follicles. Follicular neogenesis is also an interest of ours and we are carrying out some work on this but our first goal will be to rescue a patient’s natural hairs. As all patients are unique, we envision that this could also be used in the future in combination with hair transplants to increase the area that could be treated.
I have attached a press release that provides more information and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions.
Paul Kemp PhD
Co-Founder, Chief Executive Director