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There is exciting news on the horizon for anyone who is suffering from baldness – 3D printing technology could finally be a new cure for hair loss. Although hair transplants have been around for a while, they are very expensive and time consuming, however this brand-new technology which is under development by L’Oreal has the potential to allow new hair follicles to be 3D printed and which can sprout new hair.
Although some bald people are unembarrassed about their hair loss, many others are upset about the problem and are constantly looking for ways to resolve the issue. In a co-operative effort with Poietis, a French bioprinting company, the cosmetics firm is working on this ground-breaking technology.
At the present, the techniques for tissue engineering have limits when it comes to cell patterns. Now, with the two companies working in conjunction, it is hoped that the process of bioprinting hair follicles can be cracked. The technique, which has been devised by Poietis, adopts a laser-assisted bioprinting technology in order to create biological tissue.
How Does 3D Hair Printing Work?
The 3D printing technology works by the printing firing a laser at an ink-containing cartridge. However, in the case of hair printing, the substance used is not ink, but is a suspension of cells which are taken from patients with alopecia once they have had hair surgery. A stream of cells are sent by the laser in a stream onto a nutrient covered substrate which helps the cells to grow. If scientists do this in several layers, they are hopeful that they will be able to grow a hair follicle. This biological living tissue which has been created will be left to mature for about 3 weeks before being used.
Thanks to the expertise that the cosmetics firm have in the field of hair biology, it is hoped that the previously impossible will become possible, helping those who suffer from baldness and the associated depression and anxiety which often follows to restore their confidence and to look and feel great.
While it sounds unlikely, earlier this year researchers reported that they had discovered how to grow skin cells, complete with hair, and then to implant them onto the skin successfully. In the past, experiments to attempt to grow skin cells in laboratories had failed to create skin which had sweat and oil glands meaning that it would not be able to function in the same way as normal skin, so this latest success is a huge step forward in medical science. It is surely only a short step from here to 3D hair printing that will bring relief to countless people suffering from hair loss.
For those who are looking for a solution in the short term until this 3D hair printing technology is fully developed could consider using a hair loss concealer spray. A convenient and quick way to disguise bald patches and to restore the appearance of a full and thick head of hair, hair thickening sprays will help you to look and feel great and to be more confident about your appearance.
A recent news story from a national newspaper emerged claiming “scientists studying cancer stumble on ‘breakthrough’ in search for baldness cure”. The report goes on to cite that “a cream or ointment may soon cure baldness or stop hair turning grey, as well as explaining why we age, one day”.
No one likes to be the bearer of bad news, but here at RESTRAND, we can confirm that these claims are falling short of their assertions (at this moment in time).
Looking into the research project a little further, it actually saw scientists conducting a study in mice, whereby they were looking into a rare genetic condition known as neurofibromatosis; a condition that causes tumours to grow along the nerves. During their research, they discovered the part a protein called KROX20 plays in our natural hair colour.
What is KROX20?
The KROX20 protein is created in specific cells within each and every single hair follicle. The KROX20 protein is also responsible for the production of another protein called SCF. It is the SCF protein that needs to be present to support the mature pigment-producing cells in the hair follicle. When it wasn’t produced, the mice lost their hair colour, ultimately becoming white. Furthermore, if the mice had little or no KROX20-producing cells, they were unable to create any new hair, which led to balding.
This is yet to be confirmed in humans cells, but the initial biology of cells in different mammals is quite precise in its similarity, so there’s every chance this could apply to us too.
As we mentioned, these new findings don’t automatically mean that the cure for greying hair and baldness is on the horizon.
The University of Texas was behind the research, with funding secured via a range of grants from the National Institutes of Health, in the United States.
The researchers were initially exploring neurofibromatosis; a condition that causes benign tumours, or neurofibromas, to develop in the sheath of nerves.
During the research, they stumbled across the fact that one strain of mice they’d genetically engineered to study this condition developed grey fur early in life. Once they had realised this interesting development, they carried out more experiments to look at why this could be, while also furthering their knowledge of the hair greying process we see in humans.
There is a long way to go, following their early findings, but it is thought that further studies will take place to decipher what can be found.
The research recognised a group of cells in the hair follicles of mice, and those cells play an essential role in forming the hair shaft to allow hair growth, as well as also aiding the maintenance of hair colour.
So far, this research has only been carried out in mice, although, as we mentioned earlier, the rudimentary biology of cells in mammals is very comparable, so it appears possible that the findings might also apply to humans.
So, we will all have to wait and see what the findings in the future will bring, which could be years in the waiting. For now, though, if you are coming to terms with changes to your appearance and are looking for a hair loss treatment you can trust, why not take a look at the products RESTRAND provide which can help you overcome those issues?