A drug initially used to treat osteoporosis revealed that it could cure baldness. The name of the drug is WAY-316606, and it stimulated hair follicles by targeting a protein that has a vital role in baldness.
The team hasn’t yet tested the drug in clinical trials, but they believe that this discovery could be a new way of treating hair loss in men and women.
Dr. Nathan Hawkshaw from the University of Manchester is the lead scientist of the study. He explains their discovery:
‘The fact this new agent, which had never even been considered in a hair loss context, promotes human hair growth is exciting because of its translational potential: It could one day make a real difference to people who suffer from hair loss.
However, he added that they need to run clinical trials to prove that the compounds of the drug are safe. They will also have to show results in treating baldness:
‘Clearly though, a clinical trial is required next to tell us whether this drug or similar compounds are both effective and safe in hair loss patients.’
There Are Only a Few Ineffective Treatments for Baldness
At the moment, the only drugs treating the male pattern baldness are minoxidil and finasteride. However, they don’t show significant results, and they even have unwanted side effects. Another option is hair transplants.
The protein that regulates and affects tissues and hair follicles is SFRP1. Using WAY-316606, the team of researchers found out that it suppresses the protein.
To see if the drug is effective, the team used follicles donated from 40 patients that had hair transplant surgery. They treated the follicles with the osteoporosis drug. After six days of treatment, researchers saw that hair started sprouting.
In just two days after the treatment, the hair started to grow significantly.
Dr. Hawkshaw also added that previous studies relied only on cell cultures and that that other studies on mice showed different results:
“Interestingly, when the hair growth-promoting effects of CsA were previously studied in mice, a very different molecular mechanism of action was suggested. Had we relied on these mouse research concepts, we would have been barking up the wrong tree.”
You can read more information in the journal Public Library of Science Biology.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.