The idea of combining hair follicles and 3D printing sounds like the start of a science fiction movie. The craziness of science fiction movies is well known. This experiment held by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute showed an abundance of advantages to their remarkable innovation. By using 3D- bioprinting it offers to build upon the current knowledge obtained from skin grafting.
Now, we are at the point where skin grafts can't fully mimic human skin without the production of hair. In order to understand why scientists are doing this, it's important to highlight the benefits of hair follicles. Hair follicles are most known for their supportive role. They provide benefits such as hair growth, thermoregulation, and protection with a much needed thank you to our stem cells that aid the skin to heal.
It's already hard to believe that 3d-bioprinting can be successfully done at a cellular level. The printers can effectively produce skin tissue with working blood cells, which is amazing. It’s almost impossible to comprehend. However, we are still at the start of this sci-fi movie. Scientists are consistently working in order to achieve an even bigger goal. Not only are they working on skin grafts with hair follicles that strangely mimic our skin, they also would like to explore the unknown treatments, hair rejuvenation, tropical drug testing, and dermatological testing that can further expand our current knowledge of the skin.
This sounds great, but we are nowhere near achieving these goals. it does make sense; the skin is the largest organ of the human body, providing an extra layer of complexity. The main issue currently is the 3D printed hair follicle lifespan only lasting up to three weeks. Therefore, research on expanding the lifespan of hair follicles is necessary and a top priority. The main objective is to allow the hair shaft and soon enough hair follicles to mature. Once accomplished, it could be safe to say life is a true sci-fi movie. Moreover, it’s wonderful to envision the plethora of innovations that this technology could open the door for.