Hair loss has been an issue for many aging men and sufferers of alopecia since the dawn of time. But researchers believe that they may have found a treatment that will re-grow hair from the scalp, and their solution comes from an unlikely source.
Published in The FASEB Journal, researchers found that a glaucoma drug, bimatoprost, can be used to grow hair from the scalp. In fact, bimatoprost is already used in Latisse, which is a drug used to lengthen eyelashes. But, because eyelashes grow using a different mechanism than hair grown from the scalp, researchers had been previously unsure if it would be successful in providing a cure for baldness. The preliminary research shows that it might.
Researchers from the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom, Farjo Medical Centre in the United Kingdom, and health company Allergan in the United States conducted a series of three experiments. Two tests used human cells, either growing in an organ culture or obtained from the scalp. In both cases, bimatoprost caused hair growth. A third test applied bimatoprost to the skin of mice with bald spots. As with the human cells, hair regrew where the drug was applied.
"Given that the drug is already approved for human use and its safety profile is generally understood, this looks like a promising discovery that has been right in front of our eyes the whole time," Gerald Weissmann, editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal, said in a statement. "On to the front of our [scalps]!"
There are various methods currently on the market that are intended to stop hair loss or reverse it altogether. Unfortunately, they come with side effects and any prevention of hair loss disappears once a user stops taking the drug.
Researchers are also attempting to cure baldness altogether before it starts. The efforts of University of Pennsylvania researchers were published earlier this year, in which they found that male-pattern baldness is caused by a protein.