Hair transplants must come from the same person who is the recipient. Hair currently can’t be transplanted from another person, even from someone that’s related. The recipient’s immune system would immediately view the transplanted hair follicles as an invader and attack them. The transplanted follicles would never have an opportunity to grow in.
Every bit of a person’s body is encoded with its own unique genetic signature that identifies it as belonging to that body. The immune system recognizes what “belongs” to it and treats everything else as a foreign invader to be vanquished. The body immediately begins to produce antibodies against the foreign follicles.
The same immune response occurs in organ transplants, but the immune system is thwarted with immunosuppressants to prevent it from rejecting the organ. Unfortunately, the medication suppresses the entire immune system, making it more susceptible to infection and disease.
The Future of Hair?
However, person-to-person transplants may be possible sometime in the future if research at the Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) in Korea is accurate. Professor Kwon Oh-Sang, who headed the project, says his team succeeded in transplanting hair from one subject to another, without the need for immunosuppressants.
The research was conducted in 2019 and has so far only been conducted on mice. The transplanted hair follicles grew new black hair that survived more than 6 months without any signs of rejection response. While not currently applicable in humans, the project does open the door for more research and could revolutionize the hair transplant industry.
With today’s technology, many men can undergo surgery and regain the hair they lost. If male pattern baldness is far advanced, individuals may not have enough donor areas to supply the needed number of hair follicles. The Korean research has enormous potential, but practical application is still far in the future.
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