Scientists may have accidentally stumbled onto a cure for male pattern baldness. A drug initially developed for treat osteoporosis – brittle bone disease – has shown impressive effects on hair follicles donated by men with pattern baldness.
WAY-316606 causes hair to grow by 2mm in just six days – a third longer than it normally would.
The drug designed by the University of Manchester, targets a protein that slows down hair growth and is a main player in hair loss.
“The fact this new agent, which had never even been considered in a hair loss context, promotes human hair growth is exciting because of its translational potential.” said lead scientist Dr Nathan Hawkshaw, from the University of Manchester.
Dr Hawkshaw said that the discovered characteristics of the drug now have to undergo clinical testing to ascertain both effectiveness and safety.
Pattern baldness is the major cause of hair loss in men, which can be thoroughly distressing. There are currently only two drugs in the market treating hair loss, minoxidil and finasteride. These however act better at halting hair loss than generating growth.
The drug could also be used to treat women with alopecia.
The University of Manchester research is published in Public Library of Science Biology.