Researchers from the Centre for Dermatology Research at the University of Manchester have discovered an osteoporosis drug could become atreatment for androgenetic alopecia. After testing the drug on hairs donated by patients undergoing hair transplants, it was revealed it could stimulate hair regrowth within just two days.
This new finding is an exciting development, providing hope of a cure for men and women suffering from hair loss. Here, we’ll evaluate the findings of the study and what it could mean for the future of hair loss treatments.
Understanding the findings of the hair loss study
The research, published within the open access Journal PLOS Biology, aimed to find a treatment for androgenetic alopecia. They started by identifying molecular mechanisms of the Cyclosporine A (CsA) drug, once used to treat osteoporosis.
CsA is known to have severe side effects, with one of them being excessive hair growth. So, Dr Nathan Hawkshaw and his team aimed to determine whether it could also work to trigger hair growth directly in the scalp.
After isolating the compound known to trigger hair growth from the CsA, the researchers used it on hair donated by 40 patients undergoing a hair transplant. They were surprised to discover it triggered hair regrowth in a period of just two days. This has led to the development of the new treatment dubbed WAY-316606.
The hair growth possibilities of CsA have already been previously tested on mice. However, in those tests, it revealed a different molecular mechanism. If the researchers had relied solely upon these results, they wouldn’t have made this breakthrough discovery.
Further research required to determine safety of hair loss drug
Although the results of the study are extremely promising, the team have yet to test the drug in clinical trials. These are essential in order to determine whether the drug does pose any risk of side effects.
It is also worth keeping in mind that all of the donor hairs provided were from male patients. Therefore, it is unknown whether the treatment would work the same way to target female hair loss. Clinical trials would need to consist of both male and female participants to establish its effectiveness for both genders.
Currently, there are only two drugs available to successfully treat hair loss: Minoxidil and Finasteride. Although the two are FDA approved and they have shown to be very effective, they do not work for all sufferers and can also result in some less pleasant side effects; especially when used in the long term. So, the potential for a new hair loss drug with minimal side effects is an exciting prospect.
Only time will tell whether WAY-316606 could be a viable hair loss treatment. In the meantime, though it is important to realise that hair loss can be triggered by a wide range of factors, so a careful diagnosis is required first before you embark on treatment.