Scientists may be just one step away from finding a cure for baldness. In a groundbreaking development, researchers in the United States have successfully produced 3D-printed hair follicles in human skin tissue for the first time.
According to the British newspaper “Daily Mail,” Pankaj Karande, an associate professor of chemical and biological engineering who led the study, stated, “Our work is a proof of concept that it’s possible to create hair follicle structures with high precision and repeatability using 3D bioprinting. Such automated processes are essential for the future of biofabrication of human skin.”
Karande further elaborated on the 3D-printed hair, saying, “Reconstructing hair follicles using human-derived cells has historically been a challenge. Some studies have shown that when these cells are cultivated in a 3D environment, they are likely to produce new hair follicles. Our study builds on this work.“
A team from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York sought to develop skin with hair follicles using 3D printing techniques at the cellular level. They allowed samples of skin cells and follicles to divide and multiply in the lab until they had enough for printing. Each type was then mixed with proteins and other substances to form “bio-ink.”
Utilizing an ultrafine needle, the process involved constructing the skin incrementally, each layer adding to the structure. Concurrently, pathways were formed to support hair cell growth. Presently, these fabricated tissues sustain for a duration of two to three weeks, a timeframe too brief for the emergence of hair. Nonetheless, the scientists are aiming to prolong this lifespan, fostering further development of the follicles and ultimately leading to hair generation.
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