Researchers have derived a new gel to reduce the hair loss due to chemotherapy, which is one of the distressing side effects of the treatment of cancer. The pharmaceutical company Glaxo Wellcome has formulated a gel which which contains a drug known as GW8510, helped to prevent hair loss in rats subjected to chemotherapy.
Lead researcher Stephen Davis said the gel completely prevented hair loss in half of the rats that subsequently underwent chemotherapy. No side effects were detected and the drug did not interfere with the cancer-killing effects of the treatment.
Hair falls out because chemotherapy drugs aim to kill rapidly dividing cancer cells but also hit the cells surrounding hair follicles that divide quickly. The gel works by inhibiting the action of an enzyme involved in cell division. By applying GW8510 directly to the scalp, the drug does not enter the bloodstream and affects only the hair cells and not the cancer cells.