Washington: Researchers who discovered that mouse hair has a circadian clock - a 24-hour cycle of growth followed by restorative repair - suspect that hair loss in humans from toxic cancer radiotherapy and chemotherapy might be minimized if these treatments are given late in the day.The study found that mice lost 85 percent of their hair if they received radiation therapy in the morning, compared to a 17 percent loss when treatment occurred in the evening.The researchers, from Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of California, Irvine (UCI), worked out the precise timing of the hair circadian clock, and also uncovered the biology behind the clockwork - the molecules that tells hair when to grow and when to repair damage. They then tested the clock using radiotherapy."These findings are particularly exciting because they present a significant step towards developing new radiation therapy protocols that include minimizing negative side effects on normal tissues, such as hair or bone marrow, while maintaining the desired effects on cancer cells," said Maksim Plikus, assistant professor of developmental and cell biology at UCI and the study`s first author.
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