Shampoo containing brittle bones drug allegedly 'triggers hair growth'

The inside of a human hair bulb

If baldness runs your family, then you might be pleased to hear that scientists have found that a drug originally created to combat brittle bones could be used as a cure.

The study was conducted in a lab using human hair samples, but may be a viable treatment for people experiencing hair loss, according to study co-author Dr. Nathan Hawkshaw of the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.

"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", Hawkshaw said.

Only two drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration are now used for hair loss disorders: minoxidil and finasteride.

Now there are only two drugs that can cure baldness and both have side effects while only producing disappointing results. The project team discovered that CsA restricts a protein that when otherwise left alone, slows the growth of hair follicles.

WAY-316606 was originally developed to treat bone loss related to osteoporosis.

The study was published Tuesday in the open access journal PLOS Biology. The other option is minimally invasive hair transplant surgery.

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Scientific detective work directed the Manchester team to assess the ability of the osteoporosis drug to trigger hair growth.

Researchers were looking to develop novel ways for human hair growth, and their approach was to firstly identify the molecular mechanisms of an old immunosuppressive drug, Cyclosporine A (CsA).

A well-known side effect of CsA is that it enhances unwanted hair growth.

In tests, 40 patients undergoing hair transplant surgery were treated with the drug for six days.

The compound WAY-316606 could therefore be used to treat baldness, without patients suffering the same side effects as they would on CsA. However, they decided not to go ahead with its application as a hair growth stimulator owing to its other side effects.

While you wait for a surefire solution to hair loss, consider embracing your baldness.

Dr. David Silverstein, a dermatologist at Stony Brook University Hospital who wasn't associated with the research, says this study is very preliminary.

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