First it was the great news that the cooling cap is slowly being made available in more hospitals around the UK, and now new research (albeit at a very early stage) seems to indicate that hair loss in humans from toxic cancer radiotherapy and chemotherapy might be minimised if these treatments are given late in the day.
The California-based research team discovered that mouse hair operates on a 24 hour growth cycle, followed by period of restorative repair. The study found that mice lost 85 per cent of their hair if they received radiation therapy in the morning, compared to a 17 per cent loss when the treatment was administered in the evening.
The researchers, from the University of Southern California and the University of California, Irvine, worked out the precise timing of the hair circadian clock, and also uncovered the biology behind the clockwork, namely the molecules that tell hair when it’s time to grow and when it’s time to repair damage. They then tested the clock using radiotherapy.
Maksim Plikus, Assistant Professor of Developmental and Cell Biology at UCI, who worked on the study, commented: “These findings are particularly exciting because they present a significant step towards developing new radiation therapy protocols that include minimising negative side effects on normal tissues, such as hair or bone marrow, while maintaining the desired effects on cancer cells. We will now apply our findings to design novel circadian rhythm-based approaches to cancer therapy.”
But Will It Translate To Humans?
Because the scientists are yet to test their findings on humans, it’s unclear whether the science can be applied. However, the research group noted that it is becoming increasingly clear that body organs and tissues have their own circadian clocks that, when understood, could be used to time drug therapy for maximum benefit.
The study’s co-lead investigator, Satchidananda Panda, an associate professor in Salk’s Regulatory Biology Laboratory at the University of Southern California, explained: “There are clocks everywhere in the body – clocks that have their own unique rhythm that, we found, have little to do with the central clock in our brains. This suggests that delivering a drug to an organ while it is largely inactive is not a good idea. You could do more damage to the organ than when it is awake, repairing and restoring itself.”
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.