ANNOUNCER: Cloning new hair follicles is one challenge. Another is making sure these implanted follicle cells stay put and grow hair in the right direction. Something like construction scaffolding may help.
KEN WASHENIK, MD: The thought is that if you take cells that can induce a new hair follicle and put them into a person's skin, they may not survive or they may not maintain the correct orientation and that a scaffolding or a matrix, a bioabsorbable matrix, would be necessary, like a sponge that has all the cells seeded into it so you could plant that scaffold intact and it will give some protection and some orientation to those inductive cells that you've placed.
ANNOUNCER: Initially, surgeons probably won't use cloned follicles to create a full head of hair. It's more likely they will first be used along with current transplantation techniques.
ROBERT BERNSTEIN, MD: The role of cloning and hair transplantation really depends upon how cloning technology evolves.
ROBERT BERNSTEIN, MD: So initially, cloning may actually be used to supplement a regular hair transplant. We may use a regular follicular unit transplant to give definition to a hair line basically frame the face and then use cloning to give the hair transplant bulk, maybe putting behind the transplanted hair.
ANNOUNCER: Research has shown surgeons how to make the most of a little in transplanting hair. But in the future, patients who have too little hair for transplants to start with may benefit from new techniques that turn one hair into many, allowing surgeons to create a full head of hair.