New Cancer Drugs Turn Patient's hair from gray to brown

New Cancer Drugs Turn Patient's hair from gray to brown

Hair gets its color from pigment called melanin that is produced by specialized cells called melanocytes in the hair follicle. The amount of melanin produced, and in what quantity is determined by genes inherited from One's parents. At some point in a person's life, the melanocytes may begin to produce less melanin, or stop producing melanin altogether. When Melanin production slows down or stops, hair begins to lose its color and the result is decreased pigmentation in gray hair or local absence of pigmentation in the White hair. In some Cancer patients’ gray hair unexpectedly turned dark while taking new immunotherapy drugs, a new study reveals.

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While chemotherapy is notorious for making hair fall out, the 14 patients involved in this report were all being treated with a new form of drugs called immunotherapy, which work differently and have different side effects. Spanish researchers found that this drug was turning gray hair into brown in some of the patients being treated for lung cancer. With the first patient, ‘we thought it could be an isolated case,’ said Dr. Noelia Rivera, a dermatologist at Autonomous University of Barcelona, however the research team found the same thing when they asked other patients for photos from before treatment. The 14 cases were among 52 lung cancer patients being followed to see whether they developed bad side effects from the drugs – Keytruda, Opdivo and Tecentriq. While most patients did not have a color change, the 14 cases suggest it’s not an isolated finding. In 13 patients, hair turned darkish brown or black. In one patient, it turned black in patches.

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In another odd twist, the same drugs have been linked previously with hair losing color in patients with another cancer, melanoma. All but one of the 14 patients in the Spanish study had at least stable disease and responded better to treatment than other patients, suggesting that hair darkening might be an indication that the drugs are working, the researchers said. However they results are still not definite and deserve deeper look before suggesting that these drugs lead to new treatments for gray hair. The pharmaceutical industry has previously capitalized on unexpected drug side effects; examples include the male pattern baldness drug Propecia, the eyelash growing drug Latisse, and Botox anti-wrinkle injections.

Dr. Mike Meshkin, a hair transplant specialist based in Los Angeles and Orange County is at the forefront of research and development of modern hair restoration techniques and hair related findings. Dr Meshkin is honored to be recognized as a designated long standing member of ISHRS by his peers and also be certified diplomat by ABHRS for his knowledge and skill as a specialized hair restoration surgeon. Dr. Meshkin is also selected as one of 100 doctors in the nation to receive the prestigious RealSelf 100 Award, out of nearly 13,000 board certified specialists with a presence on RealSelf, for 2015 and 2016. To find out more about your hair loss or any new developments related to hair, visit one of Dr. Meshkin's hair transplant Irvine and hair restoration clinics in Los Angeles. Dr. Meshkin will use the latest techniques and gives the best hair restoration recommendations customized to your needs and concern.

If you are suffering from hair loss or hair thinning you can contact us at (949) 219-0027 to schedule for a free consultation or visit our website at