Alopecia - the search for novel agents continues

Author: Sawaya, M.E.

Source: Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Patents, Volume 7, Number 8, August 1997 , pp. 859-872(14)

Publisher: Informa Healthcare

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Recently, the search for new and effective agents for the treatment of alopecia has become significantly more intense. The increase in hair biology research worldwide seen in both academic institutions and pharmaceutical companies stems from the desire to profit from the marketing of drugs that have been termed cosmeceuticals. Millions of men and women from every ethnic group suffer from various forms of alopecia, the most common being androgenetic alopecia (AGA), where the target tissue active androgen, 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) aggravates genetically programmed scalp hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. Currently available drugs indicated for other disease processes are still commonly used to treat the various forms of alopecia because no other agents are available; some of these compounds have severe side-effects and many also exhibit minimal efficacy. These prescription drugs were not originally indicated for alopecia and have not been adequately tested in controlled clinical trials to assess for efficacy, safety and toxicity. Despite this, these agents continue to be used clinically for the treatment of patients with various forms of alopecia. To combat the problems associated with the currently prescribed drugs a variety of new agents have emerged in patent applications. This report reviews nearly 70 patent applications submitted since 1995 for AGA, immunomodulatory related hair diseases and antichemotherapeutic alopecia agents (preventing hair loss during chemotherapy) and discusses the mechanisms of action targetted by research and their implications regarding efficacy.

Keywords: alopecia; hair growth; immune and chemotherapy related alopecias; steroids

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Division of Dermatology & Cutaneous Surgery, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL, 32610-0277, USA

Publication date: August 1, 1997

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