Ian Westbrook, BBC News – A potential new cure for baldness has been found using a drug commonly used to treat osteoporosis.
Researchers found the drug had a dramatic effect on hair follicles in the lab, stimulating them to grow.
The drug contains a compound which targets a protein that acts as a brake on hair growth and plays a role in baldness.
Project leader Dr. Nathan Hawkshaw told the BBC a clinical trial would be needed to see if the treatment was effective and safe in people.
Only two drugs are currently available to treat balding (androgenetic alopecia):
- minoxidil, for men and women
- finasteride, for men only
Both have side-effects and are not always very effective, so patients often resort to hair transplantation surgery instead.
The research, published in PLOS Biology, was done in a lab, with samples containing scalp hair follicles from more than 40 male hair-transplant patients.
The researchers, from the University of Manchester, went looking for an agent that suppresses the protein believed to cause hair loss.
Dr. Hawkshaw said the treatment could “make a real difference to people who suffer from hair loss”. Read more.