Now there are two medication used to stimulate hair growth - Minoxidil (for men and women) and finasteride (for men only). However, both agents have moderate side effects and often produce disappointing hair regrowth results.
The external application of WAY-316606 or similar compounds to balding human scalp may promote hair growth to the same magnitude as CsA or even better, but without its side effects, according to Hawkshaw.
The team found that WAY-316606 helped surpress a protein called SFRP1, a key growth regulator that affects many tissues including hair follicles.
After some work into how and to what extent SFRP1 is inhibited by CsA and the effect that Wnt ligand activity (canonical WNT signalling is inhibited by SFRP1) has on anagen and hair shaft formation, the team revealed that WAY-316606 (an osteoporosis treatment) antagonises SFRP1.
In lab experiments the osteoporosis drug had a dramatic effect on donated follicles, stimulating them to sprout growing hairs.
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The researchers stated that a clinical trial was the next necessary step to assess whether the drug could be safe and effective to use on hair loss patients. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
If applied as a shampoo, scientists found the treatment promotes hair growth.
"For individuals with hair loss, treatments can be very hit and miss".
A cure for baldness could have been discovered by mistake after scientists testing an osteoporosis drug found it had an unexpected side effect.
"For individuals with hair loss, treatments can be very hit and miss, there isn't one which is universally effective".
This leaves hair transplant surgery as the only reliable option, until now. Two kinds of cells placed in silicone containers are used to cultivate "hair follicle germs"- which are sources of the small organs that grow hair.