While it’s true that everyone loses hair (an average person loses around 50-100 hairs every day!), we all know that balding is a sensitive topic to discuss with those experiencing it. Aside from the obvious issue of physically losing hair, baldness can cause psychological stress for those who wish they could stop balding.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, an estimated 80 million men and women in the U.S. experience hereditary hair loss, however, other factors such as stress, certain medications, anemia, low vitamin levels and more are known to cause hair loss as well.
The good news for those experiencing hair loss? Scientists may have accidentally found a possible cure for baldness. Researchers from The University of Manchester’s Centre for Dermatology Research, discovered that a drug intended to help with osteoporosis also has the side effect of stimulating hair growth in patients who are undergoing hair transplant surgery.
Lab results show that the drug Cyclosporine A contains a compound that specifically zeroes in on the protein that prevents hair growth. Currently, there are only two drugs that help with balding, though both have side effects and only yield so-so results. This is why many patients turn to hair transplantation surgery to get the results they want.
This is where they discovered that the drug helped to inhibit the activity of a protein known as SFRP1, which aids in the growth regulation of hair follicles. Through continued research, the team ultimately discovered a compound known as WAY-316606, which is even more efficient at suppressing the protein than Cyclosporine A.
“[W]e were able to conduct our experiments with scalp hair follicles that had generously been donated by over 40 patients and were then tested in organ cultures,” Dr. Hawkshaw, who led the study, said in a statement. “This makes our research clinically very relevant, as many hair research studies only use cell culture.”
While more research is needed before it’s certain that this drug is beneficial and safe for balding patients, the researchers are excited about their study’s potential.
“It could one day make a real difference to people who suffer from hair loss,” explained Dr. Hawkshaw.