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Immunosuppressants Side Effect May Benefit People With Hair Loss
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Immunosuppressants Side Effect May Benefit People With Hair Loss

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Highlights:
  • Men and women who suffer from baldness can be benefited by a drug (WAY-316606) designed to treat osteoporosis.
  • Dr. Hawkshaw and team developed a new strategy to promote hair re-growth particularly in cases of androgenetic alopecia.
  • Isolated human hair follicles showed a positive effect when tested in organ cultures, and the result could one day make a dream come true.

Hair loss also called as alopecia or baldness is a major psychological distress in men and women which occur due to either hair thinning or complete or a partial lack of hair growth. Generally, people have about 100,000 to 150,000 hairs on their head. The loss of hair on an average day would be 100 and to maintain the normal volume, it must be replaced at the same rate which is lost. The symptoms can be observed in conditions like dandruff, scarring, skin lesions and loss of hair in circular patterns.

Dr. Hawkshaw study with cyclosporine A and osteoporosis drug for treating hair loss

Cyclosporine (CsA), an old immunosuppressive drug is commonly used for decades for suppressing transplant rejection and for several autoimmune diseases. Like every drug CsA also has side effects which are found to be serious in some cases. Among the list of side effects of CsA, the most interesting and least serious is the enhancement of hair growth.

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Immunosuppressants Side Effect May Benefit People With Hair Loss

Isolated human hair follicles donated by 40 patients were treated with CsA and found that the expression of a specific gene called Secreted Frizzled-Related Protein 1 (SFRP1) is significantly reduced by CsA. The development and growth of many tissues including hair follicles were either prevented or slowed down by SFRP1 gene. This inhibitory mechanism brings SFRP1 a promising target for treating hair loss conditions.

Dr. Hawkshaw in addition to CsA also studied effects of a drug called WAY-316606 used to treat osteoporosis. WAY-316606, a non-immunosuppressive drug and chemically unrelated to CsA, when treated with the hair follicles, acts in the same way as CsA by specifically antagonizing the SFRP1 gene. These studies prove that even an external application of WAY-316606 or similar compounds may promote hair regrowth with no side effects as these were carried in organ cultures instead of cell cultures which would eventually lead to the wrong impact. However, the study requires a clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of WAY-316606 in hair loss patients.

What are the common types of hair loss?

  • Male pattern baldness
  • Female pattern hair loss
  • Spot baldness or alopecia areata
  • Telogen effluvium (scalp disorder characterized by thinning of hair)

How to diagnose hair loss?

Hair loss that occurs due to the male pattern or female pattern does not need a diagnosis. If it happens in young people with no family history, the cause would be the usage of drugs. However, the diagnosis includes following tests:
  • The pull test
  • The pluck test
  • Daily hair count
  • Trichoscopy
  • Scalp biopsy

How can hair loss be treated?

Hair transplantation surgery involving follicle transplants, scalp flaps are considered which are usually done under local anesthesia.
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Drugs help much better in preventing further hair loss than in the regrowth of lost hair.

These include:
References :
  1. Nathan J. Hawkshaw, Jonathan A. Hardman, Iain S. Haslam, Asim Shahmalak, Amos Gilhar, Xinhong Lim, Ralf Paus "Identifying novel strategies for treating human hair loss disorders: Cyclosporine A suppresses the Wnt inhibitor, SFRP1, in the dermal papilla of human scalp hair follicles" journal PLOS Biology (2018) https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2003705
  2. Hair Loss - (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hair_loss)


Source: Medindia

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