A new study released may bring scientists closer to solving the hair loss. It involves a drug that’s currently used to treat osteoporosis. A side effect of the drug is that it reduces the activity of a protein called SFRP1. This is key because that protein also stops follicles from growing hair.
Studies at the University of Manchester’s Centre for Dermatology Research uncovered this finding through tests. Samples containing scalp hair follicles from more than 40 male hair-transplant patients were used. The hair follicles were placed in a medium and treated with the drug.
Researchers said that those hair follicles were able to grow again because it suppressed the actions of SFRP1.
The researchers published their findings in the journal PLOS Biology.
With around 88 million men and women experiencing hair loss in their lifetime a breakthrough could be a welcome relief to many.
There are a number of options available at present from surgical and non-surgical hair replacement to FDA approved treatment options.
The popular hair loss treatment, minoxidil, was introduced to in 1998. Although it is used by tens of thousands of men and women scientists aren’t actually sure how minoxidil promotes hair regrowth, but it does. More than 40 percent of people who use minoxidil will see their hair grow back to some degree.
Another option on the market is finasteride, an oral medication, and an anti-androgen. It was first developed to treat enlarged prostates. In 1997 it was approved to treat hair loss.
Of the two choices, finasteride comes with many more side effects. It’s not approved for use by women, and it can cause birth defects if they become pregnant. People who opt for this treatment also aren’t allowed to give blood.