French cosmetic giant L’Oreal and biotech firm Pioetis have signed an agreement to research on the viability of bio-printing a hair follicle, the small organ that produces hair. The two organizations will be applying hair biology and bioprinting to explore this possibility. If they are successful, it will be a real solution to the millions of individuals who suffer from hair loss. In Britain alone, over eight million women suffer from this condition. The market has lots of products that promise to reawaken of sleeping hair follicles, but there is no resolute cure.
At the core of L’Oreal and Pioetis partnership is the biotech’s custom laser-assisted 3D bioprinting technology that patterns bioinks and scans them with laser beams for increased accuracy. Pioetis 3D printing can achieve a cellular resolution of up to ten microns which is amazing considering the level of complexity involved in making this. The biotech also has cellular viability numbers of up to 95%. Upon 3D printing, it usually takes approximately three weeks of maturity before tissues testing can take place.
Fabien Guillemot, the CEO and chief scientific director of Poietis noted that understanding how cell within follicle are structured and work together gives researchers a much better understanding of what they need so that they can stay healthy and therefore prevent hair thinning as well as loss. He further indicates that Laser-assisted bioprinting technology has the unique capability to print cells one-by-one in the highest resolution. Essentially it works just like a 3D ink-jet printer and creates an intricate layering of micro-drop of cells on a surface. Time makes this concept quite revolutionary. Within a specified duration, the cells can grow into fully functioning hair follicles.
L’Oreal has been 3D printing human skin in labs to test skincare and make-up products. This makes much sense for the same technology to be transferred into hair care. However, hair follicles are much more complicated, and as a result, the process will take time.
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