Researchers Found New Possible Treatment For Hair Loss

Posted: Oct 25 2015, 2:52am CDT | by , Updated: Feb 29 2016, 5:42am CST, in News | Latest Science News


Researchers Found New Possible Treatment for Hair Loss
Photo Credit: Getty Images

New research found that cancer and arthritis drugs can promote hair growth and stop balding.

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have found two drugs that can promote hair growth and prevent baldness.

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The drugs are already approved by FDA and prescribed by physicians. One drug, called ruxolitinib (Jakafi) is used for treating blood cancer while other, tofacitinib (Xeljanz) deals with rheumatoid arthritis. Both fall in the category of specialized drugs known as JAK inhibitors.

Dr. Angela Christiano, who led the project and her colleagues at Columbia University have tested the cancer and arthritis drugs on mice during laboratory experimentation and found that these drugs can potentially be a new hair loss treatment.

Researchers discovered dramatic effects of JAK inhibitors on alopecia area, a form of hair loss where immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles and traps them in a resting state. Researchers claim that direct application of the drug on scalp can activate cells in hair follicles and trigger hair growth. 

“Jak inhibitors seem to be among the very few number of compounds that produce hair growth very soon after their application.” Christiano said.

During the course of experiments, researchers noticed that mice started to grow new hair when drugs were applied to the skin. Blockage of enzymes awakened the resting hair follicles and new hairs sprouted quickly, just within 10 days.

“There aren’t many compounds that can push hair follicles into their growth cycle so quickly,” said Dr. Christiano. “Some topical agents induce tufts of hair here and there after a few weeks, but very few compounds have this potent an effect so quickly.” 

It is likely that drugs will work the same way on human hair follicles as they did on mice and can reduce hair loss.

“What we’ve found is promising, though we haven’t shown yet it’s a cure for pattern baldness,” said Dr. Christiano. “More work needs to be done to test if JAK inhibitors can induce hair growth in humans using formulations specially made for the scalp.” 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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