MEN worried about going bald can now FREEZE their hair follicles – in a bid to ward off the inevitable.
The revolutionary new process has just been given the green light in the UK.
It means men can, in theory, preserve their head of hair in a similar way to women preserving their fertility by freezing their eggs.
But, there’s a catch. At this stage, men can only freeze their hair – the next steps, which hope to restore a full hairline have yet to be approved by the official authorities.
And with just freezing your hair follicles priced at £1,700, it could prove a pricey endeavour.
Hair on ice
The procedure, offered by biotech company HairClone, involves men having around 100 hair follicles harvested, before their hairline begins to recede.
From there, the follicles are preserved – plunged into sub-zero temperatures, around -197C, and stored at the firm’s hair follicle bank.
The idea is that years later, when a man starts to notice his hair falling out, he can return to the clinic for treatment.
The client’s samples can be thawed, and then HairClone’s team of scientists can replicate or clone the follicles before injecting them back into a client’s scalp.
It’s the first therapy of it’s kind approved in the UK, and is marketed as an “insurance policy” against ageing.
BUT… firm still needs approval
But, HairClone’s CEO Paul Kemp, told The Sun while they have the green light to freeze hair follicles, they still need official authorisation before they can perform steps two and three.
It means, while men can freeze their hair follicles, they will have to wait before they have have the full treatment.
Mr Kemp said the treatment is still in the earliest stages, and admitted the company still don’t have enough scientific evidence to perform it on people.
He said the theory was designed by studying what happens in androgenic alopecia, the most common cause of hair loss affecting most men and around 40 per cent of women.
We aim to stop the clock on this ageing as soon as possible
Paul Kemp, CEO HairClone
“The hair isn’t actually lost it merely gets finer and shorter until it can’t be easily seen and appears lost,” he said.
“This is caused by the gradual loss of a specialist group of cells at the base of the hair follicle called dermal papilla or DP cells.
“These cells are only lost from follicles in certain regions, which is why there is the classic male pattern baldness.
“In hair transplants, hairs from regions not affected are moved to replace those that have become finer and shorter.”
He said as a result men are left with exactly the same number of hairs, they are just moved to different parts of the scalp.
Hopes to make hair lines fuller
The treatment HairClone hopes to one day offer, aims to boost the number of hairs on the head, to make a person’s hairline fuller.
Mr Kemp said: “We expect to have to treat every few years to rebuild those hairs that have miniaturised since the last treatment.
“But from each hair we bank we expect to be able to rebuild a few hundred miniaturising (thinning) hairs.
“We aim to stop the clock on this ageing as soon as possible, plus one surgery would provide enough hairs to produce several treatments over time.”
Mr Kemp said by starting now, clients can store their young hair while the company work to get the approvals needed to start step two.
He said those who put their hair follicles on ice now, will be first in line when the green light is given to start step two.
Banking costs around £1,700, plus the cost of surgery, Mr Kemp explained.
He said they do not yet know how much step two will cost.
Mr Kemp added: “We haven’t received approvals to start the treatment process, so we don’t have a lot of evidence yet.
“However, HairClone is combining a lot of experience in hair transplant surgery with developing cell therapy treatments and we hope to start generating the evidence to support the proposed treatment starting next year.”
Dr Bessam Farjo, the medical director at HairClone and one of the company’s hair restoration surgeons, told Lad Bible: “Now that the licence is in place we’re ready to bank hair for patients.
“Consultations can begin in earnest.
“We are contacted every day by people concerned about hair loss, and who are asking when the banking system will be ready.”