UK Paper Says Early Trials Find Lumigan May Spur Hair Growth
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/30/2012 -- Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper reports early clinical trials have found the active ingredient in an eye drop commonly used to treat glaucoma may also hold out hope for regenerating hair growth.
Since the eye drop medicine is proven to have the side-effect of stimulating the growth of users’ eyelashes, leading scientists are now studying whether it might also be able to help those who are bald or have thinning hair.
Since eyelash growth increases in persons suffering from glaucoma when they are treated with Allergan’s Lumigan eye drops, researchers decided to proceed with a clinical tests to see whether the product’s active ingredient, known as bimatoprost, could reverse hair loss in both men and women.
The eyelash-stimulating side-effect of bimatoprost is well-known. The substance is even used to treat persons with problems growing eyelashes; however, researchers note the hair follicles in eyelashes are substantially different from those in the scalp.
Early research, published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology’s FASEB Journal, gives some reason for hope the drug could have a similar effect in stimulating hair growth on hair-depleted scalps.
Using living scalp tissue from volunteer donors who were undergoing cosmetic surgery, researchers applied bimatoprost directly to the scalp follicles. In nine days, the treated scalp tissues had one-third more hair than did untreated scalp samples. And despite differences between scalp and eyelash follicles, researchers discovered both types of follicles have the same molecular receptors responding to the applied bimatoprost.
In trials underway in Germany and the U.S., 220 men and 172 women who have pattern baldness are receiving six months of direct-to-scalp applications with either a placebo or a solution of bimatoprost. Results from this new phase of clinical trials are expected by year’s end.
The research’s lead scientist, Professor Valerie Randall of the University of Bradford and consultant for Allergan, predicts bimatoprost “should stimulate hair growth in patients,” as long as it can be applied in a way that reaches scalp follicles.
Researchers also want to learn whether the drug has another side-effect. When treating glaucoma patients, Lumigan not only stimulates eyelash growth but also causes patients’ eye color and eyelid skin to darken, perhaps irreversibly. Researchers don’t know whether it could have similar effects when applied to scalp follicles.
Despite the uncertainties, the reward for discovering a new hair-loss treatment could be substantial. About 6.5 million men in the UK alone are estimated to have male pattern baldness. Researchers also plan to compare bimatoprost’s effects with those of the well-known hair growth treatment minoxidil.
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