A cure for gray hair is on the way?

  • #1
petrichor2

Main Question or Discussion Point

I saw this news article (here is the article about it in a medical journal) and began to wonder if the cure for gray hair is on the way. Those immunotherapy drugs can restore hair color on healthy people?, And what about the safety? It is dangerous to healthy people more than to cancer patients?. The scientists now need to investigate the process behind the repigmentation of white hairs in those cases and develop a whole new drug for this?, or simply look for a way to make the existing drugs safer for treatments for white hairs like taking those drugs in smaller doses?.

sorry if i ask so many questions in one thread but this case raise a lot of questions.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Welcome to PF!
 
  • #3
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This study says:
IrAEs associated with PD-1 blockade therapy include interstitial pneumonitis, colitis with gastrointestinal perforation, type 1 diabetes, severe skin reactions, immune thrombocytopenia, neutropenia and sepsis after corticosteroid therapy, encephalopathy and neurological sequelae, Guillain-Barré syndrome, myelitis, myasthenia gravis, myocarditis and cardiac insufficiency, acute adrenal insufficiency, and nephritis.
It doesn't indicate frequencies - but it doesn't sound like something suitable just for changing the hair color. Simply putting color into the hair doesn't have all these possible side effects.
 
  • #4
jim mcnamara
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The JAMA network article is a clinical result. The clinicians viewed the hair change as a marker, not as a desirable end result. They were reporting the result for terminal lung cancer patients, In other words, as @mfb mentions, it is simply too likely to cause horrible problems for "treating" something as trivial and normal as gray hair.

I view the news article as the usual consumerism stuff you see everywhere. In other words the article is akin to articles like 'Elvis has returned from planet Foobar' you saw in those supermarket tabloids years ago. Migrated to the internet.

The point is: when physicians are treating people for an incurable fatal disease, using treatments that may have nasty side effects but also have some positive results, is okay.

Example: chemotherapy. Causes hair loss, weight loss, increases stroke probability, etc.

Would you undergo chemotherapy simply to lose weight? Instead of exercising and changing your diet....?
 
  • #5
DrDu
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They mention that hair repigmentation is also sometimes observed with Thalidomide, the active compound in Contergan!
 
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  • #6
petrichor2
The JAMA network article is a clinical result. The clinicians viewed the hair change as a marker, not as a desirable end result. They were reporting the result for terminal lung cancer patients, In other words, as @mfb mentions, it is simply too likely to cause horrible problems for "treating" something as trivial and normal as gray hair.

I view the news article as the usual consumerism stuff you see everywhere. In other words the article is akin to articles like 'Elvis has returned from planet Foobar' you saw in those supermarket tabloids years ago. Migrated to the internet.

The point is: when physicians are treating people for an incurable fatal disease, using treatments that may have nasty side effects but also have some positive results, is okay.

Example: chemotherapy. Causes hair loss, weight loss, increases stroke probability, etc.

Would you undergo chemotherapy simply to lose weight? Instead of exercising and changing your diet....?
I know that the hair repigmentation wasn't the end result, it was clear from the news article that the hair repigmentation was a side effect of the treatment. the article also quoted Dr robinson, an editor from JAMA dermatology and said that it is still unknown if this case will lead to new treatment for gray hair. And she probably meant to a completely risk free treatment that have FDA approval for the treatment of gray hairs. The fact that the dailymail is a tabloid doesn't mean that it lies or doesn't have reliable sources for the article.

Immune-related adverse events (IrAEs) can be reduced to a level that you have a good chance to benefit from the repigmentation side effect without suffering from a Irreparable damage?. If so it might become an unapproved treatment that is used(even illegaly) by people who are ready to take some risks and physical pain in order to treat their hair graying problem which might seems trivial for some people but not for everybody.

The news article also mentioned that one of the scientists behind this study said that the "drugs have serious side effects that make them unsafe for healthy people. But if it's confirmed that they do change hair color, a different drug could be developed to treat gray hair", and i wonder how do they do this and how much time it will take. they can develop a different type of immunotherapy drug that has milder side effects and/or used in different doses that reduce the side effects or they need to research the mechanism behind hair repigmentation and develop a whole new drug?. how much time can it takes them to do one of those things?
 
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  • #7
petrichor2
I searched a bit more about the subject and found this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6031562/
this article mention many cases of hair repigmentation cause of some drugs and also talked about the case with the 14 people on the immunotherapy drugs. they show a case where a person took a drug called secukinumab and this drug restored his hair color, it worked cause of his plaque psoriasis disease? or it was just some unique case with this guy? what is the chances to experience hair repigmentation with this drug?.
 
  • #8
petrichor2
I saw this research about another drug (secukinumab) that can restore hair color to gray hair(and also restore hair in general), the patient experienced significant hair pigmentation and growth after 6 month and it continued getting darker in the follow-up. And this time unlike the immunotherapy drugs for cancer from my previous thread this drug is completely safe and the most most probable side effects from this drug(noted as "more than 10% of people experience them") is upper respiratory tract infections which is basically things like the common cold and similar diseases that just makes you stay in bed without needing hospitalization.
The hair pigmentation and growth from the drug was also unrelated to the disease(psoriasis) the patient have, but still I have some questions:
what is the chances of experiencing hair repigmentation from this drug?.
Can you increase those chances by taking other drugs?(the research mentioned some drugs that could have cause the repigmentation if he took them).
The chances of experiencing hair repigmentation can be related to the dose of this drug?.
This research have some findings that can pave the way for new and better drugs for restoring hair color?.


I were told by a mentor that creating a new thread for this is the best choice.
 
  • #9
jim mcnamara
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From the top: most of the drugs mentioned in the secukinumab article, cited a host of other drugs which also cause repigmentation, some of which have been around for a long time. I am not aware of them being used off-label (meaning used to do something that was not originally approved by the FDA) to "cure" gray hair. So why were they not hurried into and marketed for off-label use? Because as I've explained, I think, folks on PF do not speculate and right now that is what you are asking for.

Let me explain clearly. Most of these drugs mess with your immune system. Secukinumab is a monoclonal antibody that interferes with interleukin-17A molecules. A part of the immune system response.

It is used on psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis. All are inflammatory diseases. An inflammatory disease is one where all of the large number of blood cells that work to fight infection and promote healing go a little overboard and attack healthy tissue. Since this requires a shot/IV series ( Currently I think this is the case) and careful physician monitoring it is not an over the counter drug.. Why? because it reduces the immune response, and not always in ways that you might like. Or maybe even not survive without medical help.

So, do you want something that requires a shot, blood tests, pee tests, and neurological exams in order to cure your gray hair?

We do not speculate here. So don't ask if the researchers can work around all these issues to compete in a long established market for cosmetics - hair dyes.
which are .05% of the cost.

For comparison:
I am in a random controlled trial - now in follow up - for Canakinumab. I am told the cost will likely be more than 5000US dollars per year when the trial ends. Plus medical monitoring. This drug interferes with another different interleukin molecule to reduce inflammatory arterial plaque deposition. The drug probably will probably only be prescribed for patients with extremely high serum C-reactive protein levels. It did get rid of some my minor allergies. But it will never be used for that.
 
  • #10
petrichor2
From the top: most of the drugs mentioned in the secukinumab article, cited a host of other drugs which also cause repigmentation, some of which have been around for a long time. I am not aware of them being used off-label (meaning used to do something that was not originally approved by the FDA) to "cure" gray hair. So why were they not hurried into and marketed for off-label use? Because as I've explained, I think, folks on PF do not speculate and right now that is what you are asking for.

Let me explain clearly. Most of these drugs mess with your immune system. Secukinumab is a monoclonal antibody that interferes with interleukin-17A molecules. A part of the immune system response.

It is used on psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis. All are inflammatory diseases. An inflammatory disease is one where all of the large number of blood cells that work to fight infection and promote healing go a little overboard and attack healthy tissue. Since this requires a shot/IV series ( Currently I think this is the case) and careful physician monitoring it is not an over the counter drug.. Why? because it reduces the immune response, and not always in ways that you might like. Or maybe even not survive without medical help.

So, do you want something that requires a shot, blood tests, pee tests, and neurological exams in order to cure your gray hair?

We do not speculate here. So don't ask if the researchers can work around all these issues to compete in a long established market for cosmetics - hair dyes.
which are .05% of the cost.

For comparison:
I am in a random controlled trial - now in follow up - for Canakinumab. I am told the cost will likely be more than 5000US dollars per year when the trial ends. Plus medical monitoring. This drug interferes with another different interleukin molecule to reduce inflammatory arterial plaque deposition. The drug probably will probably only be prescribed for patients with extremely high serum C-reactive protein levels. It did get rid of some my minor allergies. But it will never be used for that.
"So, do you want something that requires a shot, blood tests, pee tests, and neurological exams in order to cure your gray hair?", Yes, and there are a lot of people who are just like me, especially if we take in mind that this particular medicine also helped with the hair loss the patient suffered from.
And the side effects of this drug are minor and have pretty low chances to happen, most of them don't even require going to the hospital.

The real questions is what are the chances of experiencing hair repigmentation with this drug or other kind of drugs and what can affect those chances.
I know that probably nobody in this forum can tell me exactly all the details about this drug and hair repigmentation but can't i ask for an opinion? what is the problem with speculations?.
 
  • #11
jim mcnamara
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Grecian formula? Quality hair dye?

We are educational here - we deal with known accepted science. If you want someone to guess about this I can move the thread to General Discussion.

Why no speculation:
This is because regular non-science folks love to say 'I have a theory' which basically means it derives from their nether regions.

The word 'theory' to scientists does not mean that. no way. One the most basic statements about the universe is called 'The General Theory of Relativity'. It has been tested in all kinds of ways for over 100 years. It always works. It gives correct answers. It predicts lots of weird things. Correctly. This is different from what you and your buddy mean with that same word. Your GPS would not work well without understanding this theory.

I was a scientist at Los Alamos, for example. The majority of the active science advisors here have years of experience. As scientists and engineers. They do not support guessing about stuff in the educational context. Scientists stick to known and tested concepts. We follow a lot of guidelines, we get checked and corrected all of the time. We say 'Thank you I was wrong' and try to do better the next go around.

I get that you want this. Lots of people do. But that does not mean it will happen. No matter how simple it appears.

I'm trying to tell you that a lot of these therapies are dangerous. They can kill you. Tweaking them in that lab will not help much. The lawyers will love the damage suits that will arise in a couple of months - if some of these things were used broadly. Plus the FDA will have oversight. If recoloration treatments kill people, they would shut it down.

And yes it is hypothetically possible to create something like what you want. If that will help you sleep at night. But I am unaware of any active developments. I'm positive Clairol would love to market a harmless hair recoloration therapy. So the CEO could buy an island like Larry Ellison did - he's CEO of the Oracle Corp.
 
  • #12
petrichor2
Grecian formula? Quality hair dye?

We are educational here - we deal with known accepted science. If you want someone to guess about this I can move the thread to General Discussion.

Why no speculation:
This is because regular non-science folks love to say 'I have a theory' which basically means it derives from their nether regions.

The word 'theory' to scientists does not mean that. no way. One the most basic statements about the universe is called 'The General Theory of Relativity'. It has been tested in all kinds of ways for over 100 years. It always works. It gives correct answers. It predicts lots of weird things. Correctly. This is different from what you and your buddy mean with that same word. Your GPS would not work well without understanding this theory.

I was a scientist at Los Alamos, for example. The majority of the active science advisors here have years of experience. As scientists and engineers. They do not support guessing about stuff in the educational context. Scientists stick to known and tested concepts. We follow a lot of guidelines, we get checked and corrected all of the time. We say 'Thank you I was wrong' and try to do better the next go around.

I get that you want this. Lots of people do. But that does not mean it will happen. No matter how simple it appears.

I'm trying to tell you that a lot of these therapies are dangerous. They can kill you. Tweaking them in that lab will not help much. The lawyers will love the damage suits that will arise in a couple of months - if some of these things were used broadly. Plus the FDA will have oversight. If recoloration treatments kill people, they would shut it down.

And yes it is hypothetically possible to create something like what you want. If that will help you sleep at night. But I am unaware of any active developments. I'm positive Clairol would love to market a harmless hair recoloration therapy. So the CEO could buy an island like Larry Ellison did - he's CEO of the Oracle Corp.
Who said that this drug would kill me?, I readed about the side effects of this drug(both in the FDA site and wikipedia) and they are minor and as i said before most of them are just extremely mild things that just makes you stay in bed at home.
The only real problem with this drug is the chance for it to work that way for someone and that is exactly what i asked. the study also talked about the mechanism of what happened and other types of mechanisms and drugs that could do the same and that why i asked if combining some of those drugs could increase the chances of success.

If this forum isn't meant for opinions and only strict answers i respect that. But i think you do let yourself expressing your opinions and random thoughts about things without any kind of facts from the safety of this drug to comparing the news article to "'Elvis has returned from planet Foobar'" as if the news article isn't reliable and the general way you say things against anything i say and the mere idea of a cure for gray hair like when you said that the drug i am talking about(cure for gray hair) couldn't even compete with hair dyes which is obviously wrong.

Just wanted to have a general discussion on an interesting cases, If this isn't according to the forum's rules or purpose you could just tell that to me and mybe close the thread.
 
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  • #13
jim mcnamara
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I'll move the thread.
 
  • #14
NascentOxygen
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Greying hair is said to be indicative of a copper deficiency. Apparently our typical diet is deficient in copper, just as it's said to be low in magnesium and a handful of other essential minerals.
 
  • #15
DrClaude
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Ibegan to wonder if the cure for gray hair is on the way
I didn't know that greying hair was a disease.
 
  • #16
PeroK
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Of all the things associated with ageing, grey hair is probably the least problematic.
 
  • #17
bob012345
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I didn't know that greying hair was a disease.
Indeed, for some ancient cultures, gray hair gave one honor.
 
  • #18
bob012345
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Greying hair is said to be indicative of a copper deficiency. Apparently our typical diet is deficient in copper, just as it's said to be low in magnesium and a handful of other essential minerals.
But why then would it mainly effect older people?
 
  • #19
petrichor2
I didn't know that greying hair was a disease.
it is something that most people don't want so it is a problem that is "cured" if it get reversed.
Of all the things associated with ageing, grey hair is probably the least problematic.
actually grey hair is more about genetic rather than age. Some people get noticeably grey in their 20s or even in highschool(i heard about a lot of people who got grey hairs when they where teenagers) while some people like my father are 71 years old and 99% of the hairs on their heads are black and also barely lost hairs.
 
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  • #20
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it is something that most people don't want so it is a problem that is "cured" if it get reversed.
There were a number of men at my workplace who dyed their hair dark. But, contrasting with clearly older faces, it looked absurd to me.

There's also something psychologically stable about accepting things like grey hair and getting on with life.

A cure for arthritis, on the other hand, would be a different matter.
 
  • #21
petrichor2
There were a number of men at my workplace who dyed their hair dark. But, contrasting with clearly older faces, it looked absurd to me.

There's also something psychologically stable about accepting things like grey hair and getting on with life.

A cure for arthritis, on the other hand, would be a different matter.
My father is 71 years old(with 71 years old's face) with almost a completely black head but it isn't look weird or absurd. Anyway as i said many people get gray hairs at a young age and it isn't all about age.
You can accept thing when you can't change them but when you can change them or might could change them in the next few years then you shouldn't just accept them. Most people on wheelchairs(who are paralyzed) got on with their life and "accepted" their disability but if there is a treatment that could make them walk again should they just ignore it and "accept" their inability to use their legs?.
 
  • #22
PeroK
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My father is 71 years old(with 71 years old's face) with almost a completely black head but it isn't look weird or absurd. Anyway as i said many people get gray hairs at a young age and it isn't all about age.
You can accept thing when you can't change them but when you can change them or might could change them in the next few years then you shouldn't just accept them. Most people on wheelchairs(who are paralyzed) got on with their life and "accepted" their disability but if there is a treatment that could make them walk again should they just ignore it and "accept" their inability to use their legs?.
It's absurd to compare having grey hair with being in a wheelchair.
 
  • #23
russ_watters
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Yeah, I'm mostly bald, but would not trade my hair for my legs!
 
  • #24
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  • #25
petrichor2
It's absurd to compare having grey hair with being in a wheelchair.
I am not saying that grey hair is like being paralyzed, I am saying that you "accept" unwanted conditions(most people don't like having gray hair especially not when they are still young) only when you probably can't change it now or in the foreseeable future. And there are more and more medications that caused repigmentation in gray hair and I saw two studies that suggested those cases prove that a cure for gray hair is possible.
 

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