As a dermatologist and hair restoration surgeon, Dr. Ratushny likes to stay up to date on the latest research in hair loss. In this month’s blog, we will explore new research about a novel target that has the potential to promote hair growth.
There are a few medications used in medicine with side effects which include increased hair growth. One such medication is the blood pressure medication minoxidil. In fact, the hair growth properties of oral minoxidil (originially developed to control high blood pressure) were so impressive that topical minoxidil was designed. Minoxidil is also known by its brand name, Rogaine®, and is currently one of the best known hair loss treatments. Another medication known to cause hypertrichosis (increased hair growth) is the immunosuppressive medication cyclosporine. A recent publication in PLOS Biology in May 2018 explored this concept further in an article entitled “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”(1). Using a human hair follicle model, the authors showed that cyclosporine may exert its hair growth-promoting effects through downregulation of SFRP1, an inhibitor of the proto-oncogene Wnt. The authors also identified WAY-316606 as pharmacologic inhibitor of SFRP1. WAY-316606 has the potential to promote human hair growth without the toxicity profile of the broadly immunosuppressive cyclosporine. Overall, this publication lays the groundwork for further research into a novel treatment for hair loss.
- Hawkshaw NJ, Hardman JA, Haslam IS, Shahmalak A, Gilhar A, Lim X, Paus R. 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. PLoS Biol. 2018 May 8;16(5):e2003705.