Old Drug for Bone Disease Could Solve Androgenetic Alopecia


Researchers from the University Of Manchester have discovered a new way to stop hair loss. It involves the use of a drug meant for bone diseases. The team found out that the drug had positive effects on hair donated by people undergoing hair surgery.
Presently, there’re two drugs (minoxidil and finasteride) commonly used to treat hair loss by medical practitioners. However, they have side effects and do not work as well as expected. Another option available to treat baldness is through surgery.

The Aim of the Research

Dr. Nathan Hawkshaw and colleague, embark on a Ph.D. project to find out better ways to treat hair loss. They start off by finding out the structure of CsA(Cyclosporine A), a drug used during transplants and for specific disorders.

Although CsA has serious adverse effects, the team made an astonishing discovery. This drug had a less severe side effect in the form of artificial hair growth.

The researchers finally carried out tests on the human hair with the drug. The results showed that it can reduce the proteins that limit the growth of human hair and other tissue. These tests point out a new way this old popular immune disorder drug (used since the 80’s) worked.

The studies also showed why the drug usually causes hair growth when not wanted.

The process by which this happens differs from the way CsA reduces the signs of the health problems initially. This study makes them realize that targeting the protein linked to baldness (SFRP1) can help restore the condition.

Other Discoveries

Further studies by the team brought out the discovery that a compound known as WAY-316606 can also play a significant role in this process. This compound meant for bone disease works great against hair loss in the same fashion as CsA.

When he used this compound (WAY-316606) on hair follicles, it had a positive effect on hair growth like the immune disorder drug (CsA).

He pointed out that applying WAY-316606 or other related compounds externally on the head affected by androgenic alopecia (baldness) might also make hair grow faster in the same manner as CsA or even better. He also firmly believed that this substance also had no side effect.

Dr. Hawkshaw said: “Thanks to our collaboration with a local hair transplant surgeon, Dr. Asim Shahmalak, we were able to conduct our experiments with scalp hair follicles that had generously been donated by over 40 patients and were then tested in organ cultures.

This makes our research clinically very relevant, as many hair research studies only use cell culture.

Their Earlier findings on CsA and Suggestion

He further added: “that when they previously studied the positive effect of CsA towards hair growth in mice, they suggested a different molecular method. But if they relied on the earlier mouse research concepts, they wouldn’t have gotten this far“.

Additionally, he said that “it was exciting that the new agents which have never been tested on hair loss, poses a positive effect on hair growth because of its potential, and that at some point it could help people with hair loss problem“.

According to him, however, “clinical trial test needs to be carried out to know if the drug or similar compounds are safe and effective for people who suffer from hair loss“.

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