Hair Cloning and Follicle Banking with Dr. Ken Williams and Orange County Hair Restoration

Dr. Ken Williams and Orange County Hair Restoration announce their partnership with UK based Hair Cone™ and future clinical trials cloning hair. As a founding clinical partner, Dr. Williams brings state-of-the-art and novel hair restoration technology and science to clinical practice for his male and female patients who suffer from hair loss disorders.

Dr. Williams was selected as a clinical facility to research and further the scientific applications of hair cloning by Hair Clone™. The selection was based on his high level of technical skills and scientific interest in developing hair cloning. Along with Dr. Williams, an international group of physicians and researchers include Dr. James Harris, Bob Leonard, Russell Knudsen, Jerry Cooley, Drs. Bessam and Niolofer Farjo.

Established cell expansion systems that maintain the follicle cell phenotype using full genome arrays will be used. Cryopreservation, storage, shipment and shelf life of follicle cells are developed, and establishing methods to analyze clinical data in terms of cell migration, engraftment and modification of follicle and dermal structure will be scientifically investigated in the clinical trial.

Cloning at Orange County Hair Restoration will be carried out in collaboration with leading scientists in Manchester, London and Singapore. Early work has already begun and Vincent Ronfard, our Chief Scientific Officer is establishing a small laboratory in Singapore which will be operational in the New Year.


Approximately 50 hair follicular units would be harvested by Dr. Williams or staff under local anesthesia. This procedure would take approximately 30 minutes to perform. Our office will remove the harvested follicular units using a FUE device typically without sedation unless great anxiety exists. Your own native and existing hair will hide the harvest sites and postoperatively patients go back to normal life almost immediately. The harvested follicular units will be cryopreserved and shipped to the our affiliated clinic in the United Kingdom. The harvested follicles are then stored in a government approved tissue bank until needed in the future.

Current federal laws prevent any cloning in the United States of America at this moment. What makes cloning a great potential, is that we can hold hair transplant surgery until necessary. In some patients with a strong family hair loss and who are young, the banked hair follicles could be used later in life with balding patterns occur. The follicular units could be taken from the bank and processed to isolate the specific cells involved in the production of the hair shaft itself. These cells would be grown in culture in an approved government licensed laboratory. The follicles would divide and multiply rapidly over the subsequent 2-3 weeks.

These expanded cells would then be transported back to our affiliated hair restoration clinic in Manchester, England. Our affiliated physician then micro-injects the cloned hair cells back into the patient’s scalp. Potentially existing the villus hairs could transform into thicker terminal hair shafts.


Cryopreservation is a process where biological constructs are preserved by cooling to very low temperatures (typically -80 °C or -196 °C using). Cryopreservation methods seek to reach low temperatures without causing additional damage caused by the formation of ice during freezing. At low enough temperatures, any chemical activity in the cells is effectively stopped and at these low temperatures cells can be stored for many years and if thawed correctly are then able to function normally.


Dermal papilla (DP) cells are mesenchymal cells that reside in the dermal papillae of the hair follicle. They are the focus of intense interest because the DP not only regulates hair follicle development and growth, but is also thought to be a reservoir of multi-potent stem cells. Read More


The dermal papilla of the hair follicle follicle is a small “stud” of the dermis around which the mainly tubular indentation of the epidermis fits. It is this tubular indentation that forms the hair follicle.


There is over 40 years of basic research already to support this concept and the HairClone team have extensive experience in this area. Although more scientific and clinical research is still needed before this concept can be fully developed, we believe that this could be a reality in 2-3 years as many of the steps needed are already known such as:

  • Method to remove the follicular units
  • Method to cryopreserve hair follicles
  • Method to cryobank cells for many years
  • Method to micro-dissect out the required cells from the hair follicle
  • Method to micro-inject follicle cells back into the scalp
  • Monitoring systems to measure hair shaft thickness and hair density

The main questions that research needs to determine are:

  • The best markers to use to measure hair follicle inductivity
  • The optimum system to expand cells in culture in order to maintain inductivity
  • The mechanisms by which re-implanted cells rejuvenate and regenerate hair follicles


Hair Cloning has been proposed for many years as the ultimate treatment for hair loss. Hair transplantation successfully moves hairs from one region of the scalp to balding regions but is not able to increase the total number of hairs available. Hair cloning would in effect, disassemble a few hair follicles, multiply these cells in the laboratory and then reintroduce them into the scalp to both rejuvenate miniaturising hair follicles and induce brand new hairs. Other groups have tried this but it has been found that when human follicle cells are cultured, they rapidly lose their functionality. Recent scientific breakthroughs however indicate how culture multiplication systems could be developed which is why we have created HairClone Inc. now.


Medical innovation involves clinicians and surgeons using their skill and best judgement to develop a therapy. With this process, different procedures are tried and communicated to colleagues and there is the steady evolution of best practice. This is indeed exactly how hair transplantation developed from plug grafts, to strip grafts to follicular unit extractions.


We will begin to cryopreserve and store follicles in tissue banks in early 2017. The challenges in the future is the need to research the optimum techniques to maintain follicular activity, multiplying hair cells in culture, and the best methods to reimplant the follicles back into the scalp. The process also requires authorization from the various UK regulatory agencies.

We hope that we can begin clinical trials proper within 3-5 years. It will take time to complete these trials and then apply for and obtain marketing licenses from the regulatory bodies before this becomes a routine clinical treatment around the world. The management of HairClone, when in previous positions, have carried out over 19 different clinical trials around the world and have developed a variety of cell therapies that have treated around a million people so we have a huge amount of experience in this area. Please keep checking the website and follow us on Facebook (#HairClone) and Twitter (@HairClone) to keep updated on our progress.


Hair is a naturally regenerating mini-organ. It goes through periods of growth, then resting, shedding and regeneration as shown in the diagram below. This process is controlled by a very specific group of stem-like cells at the base of the hair follicle called Dermal Papilla (DP) cells. The number of these cells determines the thickness of the hair shaft that is produced by the sheath cells. A full thickness hair on the scalp is called a terminal hair. With some hairs, at each hair cycle the number of DP cells is reduced and the subsequent hair is thinner. Eventually, it is too thin to have a full cosmetic effect and is termed a vellus hair.


Approximately 50 hair follicular units would be taken by a hair transplant surgeon under local anesthetic. This would be about a 30 minute procedure and would require the surgeon taking out the follicular units using a tiny punch extractor. The patient’s own hair should comfortably hide the harvest sites and he/she can go back to normal life almost immediately and there would be no long lasting scars. Initially these follicular units would be cryopreserved and banked until needed.

When required, some of the follicular units would be taken from the bank and processed to isolate the specific cells involved in the production of the hair shaft itself. These cells would be grown in culture in MHRA licensed laboratories and they would divide and multiply rapidly over 2-3 weeks. These expanded cells would then be transported back to the clinic and micro-injected into the patient’s scalp where needed where they would be expected to rejuvenate the thinning vellus hairs causing them to produce thicker terminal hair shafts and regain a more youthful appearance. In a later version of the product injected cells would be able to create brand new hair follicles by a process called follicle neogenesis.