AUG 08, 2018 5:06 AM PDT

Old Drug Offers Novel Treatment For Hair Loss

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

According to researchers from The University of Manchester's Centre for Dermatology Research, a recent developed drug may serve as the key to treating human baldness. The drug, originally designed to treat osteoporosis, has exhibited dramatic stimulatory effects on hair follicles by patients undergoing hair transplantation surgery. At the present moment, only two drugs are available for treating baldness and they are male-specific (androgentic alopecia). However, because these two drugs, minoxidil and finasteride, hold some side-effects and have disappointing hair regrowth results, affected individuals are often considered for hair transplantation surgery.

The research study, which was led by Dr. Nathan Hawkshaw and colleagues, were eager to develop other options to promote human hair growth with the intentions of seeking novel treatments that are well tolerated for androgenetic alopecia. The study first examined the molecular mechanisms behind an old immunosuppressive drug known as Cyclosporine A (CsA); a critical drug of the 1980s commonly used to suppress transplant rejection and autoimmune diseases to patients undergoing specific surgical procedures. Although that drug held side-effects, one most unique was the enhancement of cosmetically unwanted hair growth, this encouraged the research team to analyze full gene expression on isolated CSA-treated human scalp hair follicles. The analysis revealed that CsA reduced the expression of SFRP1, which is a protein that blocks the development and growth of many tissues, most importantly are hair follicles. Such discovery promoted researchers to discover a novel mechanism of CsA.

 The human hair follicle bulb. Credit: Dr. Nathan John Hawkshaw

After some investigation, Dr. Hawkshaw and the research team found that a compound, known as WAY-316606, developed to treat osteoporosis was also found to target the same molecular mechanism as CsA specifically antagonizing SFRP1. When hair follicles were treated with WAY-316606, the unrelated compound enhanced human hair growth. Surprisingly, there exists similar compounds to WAY-316606 that can promote better hair growth either the same magnitude or better than CsA and without the side-effects. Dr. Hawkshaw explains, "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. 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. 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."

 

Source: University of Manchester

 

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
APR 11, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
APR 11, 2020
Promising Experimental Anti-Malarial Drug
At St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, researchers discovered a fast-acting anti-malarial compound with promisi ...
APR 25, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
APR 25, 2020
Researchers Trial Cannabis to Treat COVID-19
Researchers in Israel are investigating the potential for cannabis-derived products to treat patients with COVID-19. So ...
APR 22, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
APR 22, 2020
Preventing Blindness in Premature Births
The premature birth of infants places them at risk for blindness because of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). To prevent ...
MAY 04, 2020
Cancer
MAY 04, 2020
A Retroactive Study Finds an Immunotherapy Effective as a Third-Line Therapy
Cancer is a particularly persistent disease. Many therapies are composed of one or more different treatments. These trea ...
MAY 18, 2020
Cancer
MAY 18, 2020
How do Ohnologs affect Cancer?
Genetics can be complicated to say the least. Sometimes it can be as simple as a single mutation in one gene that causes ...
MAY 14, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAY 14, 2020
Therapeutic for Gastrointestinal Tumors
The FDA has approved ripretinib (Qinlock) which is the first drug for fourth-line treatment of advanced gastrointestinal ...
Loading Comments...