New Baldness Treatment Could Be On The Horizon

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Bald may be beautiful to some, but researchers at the University of Manchester in England think that they may have stumbled onto something that might change your mind. A drug called WAY-316606, which was originally meant to treat osteoporosis, is showing signs that it might be used to treat baldness as well, reports the Miami Herald. The researchers claim that the same drug that is used to strengthen brittle bones appears to stimulate hair follicles to grow.

“It contains a compound which targets a protein that acts as a brake on hair growth and plays a role in baldness,” the BBC reports.

The new findings, which were published Tuesday in the journal PLOS Biology, consider this a breakthrough since up until now, only two drugs are available to treat male-pattern baldness – minoxidil and finasteride. These are the main ingredients in Rogaine and Propecia respectively.

With an assist from a local hair transplant surgeon, researchers conducted their experiments on scalp hair follicles from more than 40 patients. “This makes our research clinically very relevant, as many hair research studies only use cell culture,” project leader Nathan Hawkshaw said in a statement. “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.”

However, don’t go bothering your doctor for a prescription just yet. Hawkshaw says that though the tests that were done on human tissue look promising, they weren’t conducted on humans themselves, so there is quite a ways to go before a verdict can be reached on the drug.

“It is also important to realize that this is being proposed as a treatment for hair loss, not a cure as such.”

Other unlikely drugs have been experimented with in the area of baldness which have also seen some remarkable results like Cyclosporine A, which has been used since the 1980s to treat some autoimmune diseases and transplant rejections. Unfortunately, it has been reported that Cyclosporine’s side effects (shaking, headaches, vomiting and swollen gums) were not worth the risk.