Scientists have determined a new way to protect the hair follicle from chemotherapy in an effort to prevent hair loss as a result of cancer treatments.
Researchers based at The University of Manchester have discovered a new strategy for how to protect hair follicles from chemotherapy, which could lead to new treatments that prevent chemotherapy-induced hair loss—arguably one of the most psychologically distressing side effects of modern cancer therapy.
Published in the journal, EMBO Molecular Medicine, the study from the laboratory of Professor Ralf Paus of the Centre for Dermatology Research describes how damage in the hair follicle caused by taxanes, cancer drugs which can cause permanent hair loss, can be prevented.
To do this, scientists have exploited the properties of a newer class of drugs called CDK4/6 inhibitors, which blocks cell division and are already medically approved as so-called "targeted" cancer therapies.
Dr Talveen Purba, lead author on the study explains: "Although at first this seems counter-intuitive, we found that CDK4/6 inhibitors can be used temporarily to halt cell division without promoting additional toxic effects in the hair follicle. When we bathed organ-cultured human scalp hair follicles in CDK4/6 inhibitors, the hair follicles were much less susceptible to the damaging effects of taxanes."