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Columbia University researchers from the Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUMC), have established a method of growing human hair in a dish using 3D printing in a new study. It is reportedly the first time in which human hair follicles have been artificially generated in a dish, without the need for implantation into human skin. The breakthrough, enabled by a 3D printed mold, could potentially open avenues for hair restoration surgery to more people, as well as improving upon the current procedures that pharmaceutical companies use to search for hair growth drugs.
The study, titled “Tissue engineering of human hair follicles using a biomimetic developmental approach,” was published in Nature Communications. Erbil Abaci, PhD, first author of this study, explains the significance of using 3D printing in their research:
FABRICATION - TECHNIQUES - HAVE - BEEN - UNABLE
“PREVIOUS FABRICATION TECHNIQUES HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO CREATE SUCH THIN PROJECTIONS, SO THIS WORK WAS GREATLY FACILITATED BY INNOVATIONS IN 3D PRINTING TECHNOLOGY.”
Although the possibility of artificially growing hairs in the lab has been established for a number of years, it has been limited to the growth of mouse and rat hairs. Scientists would generate the hair by culturing cells taken from the base of the rodent’s follicles, however, human cells did not behave in the same manner: “Cells from rats and mice grow beautiful hairs,” Dr. Christiano explains, a specialist in regenerative therapies for skin and hair disorders and author on the paper. “But for reasons we don’t totally understand, human cells are resistant.”
Order - Resistance - Hair - Cells - Dr
In order to counter the resistance of human hair cells, Dr. Christiano has been attempting to replicate the 3D environment normally inhabited by them. The first attempt in developing these conditions involved the creation of ‘cell spheres’ inside hanging drops of liquid. However, when the scientists implanted these spheres of human cells inside the mice, the results were not...
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