While hair loss is generally not something to worry about, don’t tell that to people who are balding. One major solution to balding has been hair transplantation surgery. And while over the last decades the procedure has become increasingly sophisticated, it still fundamentally relies on hair follicles being redistributed from one part of the body to another, thus usually requiring hair from donors.
That soon may no longer be the case, as researchers from Columbia University have found a new way to grow human hair follicles using 3D printed molds. The molds are designed to resemble a natural micro-environment stimulating hair follicle growth through tiny extensions just half a millimeter wide. On top of that, the researchers have also unveiled a cocktail of novel growth factors that can effectively stimulate hair growth.
The overall process is claimed to be able to grow hair follicles at a rate that would ultimately allow for an unlimited supply of follicles, without the need for hair grafts from donors. More work is needed to optimize and commercialize the process before it becomes clinically available, but the implications of the innovation are incredibly broad.