WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Researchers may have found a new cure for hair loss in a drug designed to treat the bone-thinning disease, osteoporosis.
- The team of researchers emphasized that finasteride and minoxidil are the only two existing drugs can treat male-pattern balding.
- The researchers used the bone drug to treat hair follicles and growth was enhanced.
University of Manchester researchers accidentally discovered a treatment for androgenetic alopecia or baldness. Published in the journal PLOS Biology on May 8, the study proves to be promising.
“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,” research leader Nathan Hawkshaw said.
In a university news release, however, Hawkshaw warned, “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.”
The team pointed out that there are only two existing drugs that treat so-called male-pattern balding at the present – finasteride (more known as Propecia or Proscar) and minoxidil (also known as Rogaine). Both drugs, however, often generate unfavorable hair regrowth results and have their share of side effects.
In finding for other potential alternatives, Hawkshaw and his colleagues discovered that the drug WAY-316606, which is used to suppress autoimmune diseases and transplant rejection, also diminishes the expression of a protein called SFRP1. This protein, when left alone, hinders the growth and development of many tissues, including hair follicles.
When the scientists used WAY-316606 to treat hair follicles, their growth was boosted. They also believe that the drug can be administered without causing dramatic side-effects.
Since WAY-316606 was originally developed only to treat bone loss caused by osteoporosis, what the team discovered was indeed very helpful.
Hawshaw added, “This makes our research clinically very relevant, as many hair research studies only use cell culture.”
Clinical trials are still needed, however, to test the effectiveness and safety of the drug and similar compounds.