When experimental treatment causes a profound change in hair color

A few years ago, a man with cystinuria received an experimental treatment. However, researchers have come up with some unlikely side effects. Indeed, the patient’s hair underwent a profound genetic modification.

Increased cysteine ​​in the organs

The term “coincidence” refers to a unexpected discovery. For example, in 2017, Japanese researchers obtained a new polymer capable of “repairing” itself by initially exploring a completely different solution to prevent the screens of smartphones and other tablets from cracking. Serendipity is not just about technology, it’s about many fields, including medicine.

A recent article in The Atlantic tells the story of Jordan Gans, a 20-year-old Canadian. In 2019, he developed a genetic disease that he gradually got rid of: cystinosis. induces excess cysteineIt is an amino acid found in the cells of organs such as the kidneys (mainly) but also in the eyes, brain, liver, pancreas, and muscles. On average, the life expectancy of patients does not exceed thirty years.

Jordan Gans received an experimental treatment based on modified stem cells Several side effects. In particular, it had to do with painful sores in the mouth affecting his ability to eat, as well as his loss of pale blond hair.

Credits: iStock / AND-ONE

Hair color is very variable

Over the months, the patient began to improve and his hair grew back. However, their color is no longer the same. In fact, her new hair was very dark, almost black. Since then, her hair color has changed again, and it’s now pulling on dark blonde. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego (USA) behind the treatment reacted to these changes in hair color. According to them, the darkening of the patient’s hair was probably a A sign that the treatment was working well.

Jordan Gans isn’t the only patient who’s seen his hair darker. Of the five individuals who received the same treatment, four are in the same situation. In the fifth patient, the change affects the regrowth of his hair. The truth is that all of these patients are Caucasians. In addition, people with cystinosis often have paler than other members of their family.

However, previous research made it possible to understand that the gene responsible for the disease also plays a role in Production of certain types of melaninIt is the pigment that affects the color of the skin and hair. Thus this phenomenon is not specific to non-Caucasians, so there is probably no relationship between disease severity and pigmentation.

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