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Researchers Find Cure For Hair Loss During Chemotherapy


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Japanese Researchers Find Cure For Hair Loss During Chemotherapy

July 10, 2007 12:10 a.m. EST

Nidhi Sharma - AHN News Writer

Tokyo, Japan (AHN) - Japanese researchers have found a new form of antibiotic called "alopestatin" that can help cancer patients from losing hair during chemotherapy.

A team lead by Toshiyuki Sakai found that the compound was successful in reducing the hair loss by 70 percent when used on rats that were given etoposide, a chemical used to treat lung and other cancers, but can cause hair loss.

The team of researchers from the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine now hope to use the compound to prevent hair loss for cancer patients in future.

AFP quotes Sakai as saying: "I want people to know that few studies have been made on reducing side-effects of anti-cancer drugs."

He also added that there is a lot of research needed in this field before the drug could be applied to human beings.

However, Saki also added that due to very less research in this field yet, the chances of alopestatin to get commercialised soon, are very "low." The ongoing study was presented at an academic meeting in Japan last week.

Though doctors are not conducting any clinical trials, researchers are hoping that one possible use for humans would be to apply it to the head in the period when hair loss is most likely to occur during chemotherapy.

Hair loss (alopecia) due to chemotherapy is one of the most distressing side effects of chemo treatments. Hair loss happens because the chemotherapy affects all cells in the body, not just the cancer cells.

The lining of the mouth, stomach, and the hair follicles are especially sensitive because those cells multiply rapidly just like the cancer cells. The difference is that the normal cells will repair themselves, making these side effects temporary.

Hair loss may occur as early as the second or third week after the first cycle of chemotherapy, although it may not happen until after the second cycle of chemotherapy.

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