A drug meant to treat a bone condition may be the cure for hair loss, a new research suggests.
The study published in the journal of PLOS Biology found that the drug WAY-316606, which was originally developed to treat osteoporosis, enhanced the growth of hair follicles when treated with it.
Osteoporosis is a condition of fragile bone with an increased susceptibility to fracture. The condition weakens bone and increases the risk of bones breaking.
“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 study lead, Nathan Hawkshaw.
“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.”
Before the remarkable discovery, only two drugs, minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Propecia, Proscar), were commercially available to treat male-pattern balding.
Both have side effects and often produce disappointing hair regrowth results, the researchers said.
The bone drug works by reducing the expression of a protein called SFRP1. This protein inhibits the development and growth of many tissues, including hair follicles.
The researchers said clinical trials are needed to test the safety and effectiveness of this drug and similar compounds.
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