New Antibiotics Fight Cancer Without Hair Loss

Researchers from Japan have discovered an antibiotic that could enable cancer patients to keep up to 70% of their hair while undergoing chemotherapy.

AFP FileAFP FileToshiyuki Sakai and his colleagues from the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine performed their initial tests on rats, but hope to eventually distribute the antibiotic for practical use. As of yet, however, human clinical trials have not been scheduled, meaning that commercialization is not anticipated in the near future.

The antibiotic is called "alopestatin," and enabled rats dosed with anti-cancer drugs containing etoposide to keep as much as 70% of their hair. The researchers suggest that, when applied to the head during chemotherapy periods when hair loss is most likely to occur, alopestatin may greatly reduce this side effect.

As Sakai noted, few studies have been carried out on reducing the side effects of cancer therapies due to the high interest in improving the therapies themselves, many of which are high-risk, uncomfortable, time-consuming, expensive--and far from 100% successful.

However, Sakai also mentioned the importance of improving the quality of life for people that are faced with the condition, as well as the confusing and debilitating treatment options. If looking healthy might make patients forget for a moment that they're sick, Sakai's drugs might make the daily lives of some of the 25 million people who have cancer a little easier.

Lisa Zyga
Science Blogger

via: Yahoo News

Jul 11, 2007
by Anonymous (not verified)

The Kid Pictured is Bald

Shouldn't s/he have 70% hair?

Jul 11, 2007
by Anonymous (not verified)

As the text says, "As of

As the text says, "As of yet, however, human clinical trials have not been scheduled..."