Tuesday January 22, 2019

A Drug That Can Potentially Cure Hair Loss

The only other option available to patients in such a situation is hair transplantation surgery.

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The drug works by targeting a protein that inhibits the development and growth of many tissues, including hair follicles, said the study published in the journal PLOS Biology.
Hair Transplant Representational Image, Pixabay

There is new hope for bald people to get back hair without going for transplantation as researchers have found that a drug originally developed to treat the bone disease, osteoporosis, stimulates hair growth.

The drug works by targeting a protein that inhibits the development and growth of many tissues, including hair follicles, said the study published in the journal PLOS Biology.

“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 project leader Nathan Hawkshaw from The University of Manchester in Britain.

The researchers found that the compound WAY-316606, which was originally developed to treat osteoporosis, has a dramatic stimulatory effect on human hair follicles.

The researchers said that the few drugs which are currently available for treatment of male-pattern balding have moderate side effects and often produce disappointing hair regrowth results.

The only other option available to patients in such a situation is hair transplantation surgery.

The researchers, therefore, sought to develop new ways to promote human hair growth.

The approach was to first identify the molecular mechanisms of an old immunosuppressive drug, Cyclosporine A (CsA).

There is new hope for bald people to get back hair without going for transplantation as researchers have found that a drug originally developed to treat the bone disease, osteoporosis, stimulates hair growth.
Drug to treat hairloss, Pixabay

Cyclosporine A has been commonly used since the 1980s as a crucial drug that suppresses transplant rejection and autoimmune diseases.

However, it often has severe side-effects, the least serious — but most interesting — of which is that it enhances cosmetically unwanted hair growth.

The team carried out a full gene expression analysis of isolated human scalp hair follicles treated with CsA.

This revealed that CsA reduces the expression of SFRP1, a protein that inhibits the development and growth of many tissues, including hair follicles.

The inhibitory mechanism is completely unrelated to CsA’s immunosuppressive activities, making SFRP1 a new and highly promising therapeutic target for anti-hair loss strategies.

The researchers then found that the compound WAY-316606, which was originally developed to treat osteoporosis, targets the same mechanism as CsA by specifically antagonising SFRP1.

When they treated hair follicles with WAY-316606, the unrelated agent also effectively enhanced human hair growth like CsA.

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This led the researchers to conclude that external application of the osteoporosis compound 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.

“We 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,” Hawkshaw said.

“This makes our research clinically very relevant, as many hair research studies only use cell culture,” he said, adding that a clinical trial is required next to tell us whether this drug or similar compounds are both effective and safe in hair loss patients. (IANS)

Next Story

Concerned Zimbabwe’s Citizens Start an Anti-Drug Campaign

While that may help, when young people have finished playing, they still find themselves unemployed and in the same conditions

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Drugs, Africa
A street vendor sells illegal and false drugs in a street of Adjame in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. VOA

A group of concerned Zimbabweans has started an anti-alcohol and drug campaign, targeting communities in which unemployed young people resort to drinking and using narcotics to alleviate the stress of not having work. Those involved in the campaign say the solution lies largely with improving the country’s moribund economy.

Fewer than three in 10 young Zimbabweans have steady jobs. Many are idle and see no economic opportunity. For some, that leads to problems with alcohol and drugs.

Church leaders, community leaders, and government officials have started warning youths of the impact of drug and alcohol abuse in Zimbabwe and its effect on their physical wellbeing and mental health.

With drug use growing in Zimbabwe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has called for an all-stakeholders meeting on February 1 to come up with possible solutions.

Zimbabwe’s deputy director of Mental Health Services, Dr. Chido Rwafa, says the government cannot deal with the problem of substance abuse alone.

HIV, Drugs
More than half of the people surveyed who inject drugs said they avoided health-care services, citing discrimination or fear of law enforcement authorities.VOA

“Alcohol and substance use is a rising problem in all of Africa, and also in Zimbabwe, and it has become one of our top three diagnoses that we are seeing in our mental health unit, so it is becoming a problem. We need a coordinated approach to this problem. It is a multi-sectorial problem. We need a combined effort between government, between non-governmental organizations, with the community itself,” Rwafa said.

Youths are susceptible to peer pressure and can easily gain access to drugs, says Dr. Rwafa. Once hooked on drugs, they also become more likely to engage in criminal activities.

This 20-year-old asked us not to film him when he was smoking cannabis. He says drug use would fall if more people could find employment.

“The best way is just to improve our country economically such that all those people loitering in the streets will find jobs and will be focused. We are going nowhere. Even if you are to look (in the streets), there are some other people damaged (by drugs). Fifty percent of youths in the streets, they can not even work. Their life has been destructed by drugs etc. It is not that they want drug abuse,” Mandizha said.

drug
Young people with the Ngoma Yorira Theatre Association get ready for a performance at “Theatre in the Park” in Harare, Zimbabwe, as they campaign against drug abuse, Feb, 2, 2018. VOA

Roman Catholic Priest Cloudy Maganga is trying to reduce substance abuse by youths by keeping them busy and offering counseling.

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“Within our hall, upstairs we are creating what we call a study center for the young people. We will have computers… We have also started what we call the sports for the young people. We have created a volleyball pitch, we have created also a netball pitch for the young people so that when they are free, during their free time, they can be engaged in sports, everyone here. So at least with that we are removing them from being just idle,” Maganga said.

While that may help, when young people have finished playing, they still find themselves unemployed and in the same conditions youths like Takudzwa Mandizha say make them turn to drugs. (VOA)