Scientists may have accidentally discovered a new cure to treat baldness using a drug which was initially created to treat osteoporosis. A side effect of the drug was what caught their attention.
Researchers from the University of Manchester who have been working on a drug intended to treat osteoporosis were surprised to see that one of the compounds of the drug WAY-316606, as it was called, targeted a certain protein responsible for stopping hair growth and developing baldness.
When they started their research, the team focused on testing Cyclosporine A. This is an immunosuppressive drug that has been utilized in medicine for at least three decades and administrated to people who underwent organ transplants. The drug was supposed to stop the body reject the new organs and to mitigate any potential symptoms of autoimmune diseases that may have appeared during the process.
Although it was established that one of the side effects of Cyclosporine A was to suppress hair loss, there were other side effects of the drug that made it unsuitable. As they were looking for similar characteristics in other drugs, they reached the already mentioned above drug – WAY-316606.
After testing over 40 samples of hair follicles from various patients who underwent hair transplant, the team decided to publish the results of this study in the journal Plos Biology, hoping that it can be a starting point for a new drug to treat alopecia.
In an interview he gave to the BBC, Dr. Nathan Hawkshaw, the project leader, mentioned that a detailed clinical trial will determine whether or not the treatment is effective and safe to use in people.
“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,” said Dr. Hawkshaw.
Right now, there are only two drugs available on the market that can treat baldness and those are: minoxidil (which can be used by both men and women) and finasteride (which is only designed for men). The appearance of a new drug in this category is definitely a great advantage to those suffering from hair loss.