Is There a Cure for Baldness Now?
A potential new cure for baldness has been discovered using a drug originally intended to treat osteoporosis. Researchers found the drug had a dramatic effect on hair follicles in the lab, stimulating them to grow. It contains a compound which targets a protein that acts as a brake on hair growth and plays a role in baldness.
Project leader Dr Nathan Hawkshaw said that a clinical trial would be needed to see if the treatment was effective and safe in people. Only two drugs are currently available to treat balding (androgenetic alopecia):
- minoxidil, for men and women
- finasteride, for men only
The research, published in PLOS Biology, was done in a lab, with samples containing scalp hair follicles from more than 40 male hair-transplant patients. The team went on to look for another agent that targeted SFRP1, a key growth regulator that affects many tissues including hair follicles, and found that WAY-316606 was even better at suppressing the protein.
Dr Hawkshaw said the treatment could “make a real difference to people who suffer from hair loss”.
A British Association of Dermatologists spokesman said, “This is a very interesting study. That said, more research will need to be done before it can be used by people with hair loss. For individuals with hair loss, treatments can be very hit and miss. There isn’t one which is universally effective.”