Scientists 'discover new cure for baldness'

NewsScienceHas baldness finally been cured?Joe Mellor

Researchers have found a potential new treatment for hair loss using a drug originally intended for osteoporosis.

However, Dr Hawkshaw said that further clinical trials will be needed to test the safety as well as effectiveness of the drug in people.

Two drugs are now known to treat male-pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia: minoxidil and finasteride. But both have side effects, and often their results are not satisfactory, with the outcome that they rarely need hair implantation, according to scientists.

Exploring other possible options, Hawkshaw and his colleagues discovered that the drug WAY-316606 reduces expression of a protein called SFRP1.

The team's experiments revealed that CsA curbs SFRP1, a protein that keeps various tissues like hair follicles from growing and developing.

After two days, the measured rate of hair growth increased significantly in the treated follicles.

The study at the University of Manchester suggests the answer could lie in an experimental drug created to treat the brittle bone disease, osteoporosis.

Dr. Nathan Hawkshaw led the new Ph.D. project to develop new ways to safely but effectively treat androgenetic alopecia, which refers to male or female pattern baldness.

The research has been published in the Public Library of Science Biology.

If this could be developed into an effective treatment, then it could have a significant impact on those suffering from hair loss, which for many can cause psychological and mental distress.

Before this, the scientists have worked on the cyclosporine A. It finds its use to prevent the organ rejection in the organ transplant patients.

A well-known side effect of CsA is that it enhances unwanted hair growth. After that, the follicles rapidly went into the dynamic "anagen" stage of hair growth and started to grow hair.

For the research to proceed, more than forty hair transplant patients donated follicles to the Manchester team.

He added: "Interestingly, when the hair growth-promoting effects of CsA were previously studied in mice, a very different molecular mechanism of action was suggested".

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