Hair Loss From Cancer Therapy May Be Minimised If Given In The Evening

Posted by Natalie

In this article: Hair Loss

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.

radiotherapyThe 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.

New Research

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."

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The Belgravia Centre

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Posted by Natalie

In this article: Hair Loss