3D printing is needed in more and more areas, especially in health where there are multiple possibilities. It would even seem that this technology could find use in a more cosmetic field. Indeed, the French group L’Oréal hopes to use this technology to solve the problems of baldness.
Alopecia (or baldness) is often very badly experienced by men who suffer from it. Since the dawn of time, men have been looking for ways to delay hair loss, as evidenced by the ancient anti-hair loss potions made by the Egyptians. Hair is indeed synonymous with seduction, health and vitality. No wonder Samson lost his strength when his hair was shorn in the Old Testament.
This old fight seems to still be relevant. The constant innovations in this field as shown by the much discussed finasteride, an active agent contained in the medication against hair loss. The firm L’Oréal has decided to join forces with a company specializing in laser bio-printing, Poietis, to print hair follicles from living hair. However, this task is not the easiest, because the hair follicles (that is to say the organ that produces our hair) are so complex and composed of different types of cells that it is very difficult to reproduce them. . This feat has never been achieved to date despite numerous attempts with mouse hair follicles.
This difficulty does not discourage José Cotovio, director of the development department of predictive models and methods at L’Oréal Research & Innovation: » We believe that by reproducing this very complicated hair follicle, we will acquire new knowledge, and it will help us to understand the mysteries of hair loss and aging. « . Successful reproduction would therefore help to understand how follicles are formed and why this fall occurs. It would also greatly help the field of tissue engineering. For L’Oréal, this also opens up new prospects for testing and developing new products. » Hair loss causes emotional problems in those affected, which can even lead to depression, if we can identify the ingredients that can fight this phenomenon, it would be a very big revolution! »
This technology deposits a suspension composed of cells in successive layers with laser beam scanning. These same cells come from people suffering from alopecia or from the patient himself and the goal is to multiply them in the laboratory. The laser projects droplets containing the cells onto a substance composed of nutrients allowing them to develop. José Cotovio is sure: From a few hairs you can make hundreds and thousands more. »
Although this technology seems promising, it should be noted that it will not be ready before 2018. Nevertheless, being still in the testing and development phase, it is too early to see new hope for those who suffer from it. baldness. Moreover, it is not guaranteed that the implants can be implanted. There are still a lot of questions and if it works, we can wonder what the price will be to benefit from it and how many people will be able to benefit from it.
An explanatory video: