Alopecia sufferers given new treatment hope with repurposed drug


Columbia University researchers announce dramatic results in trials of bone marrow drug, with full hair regrowth within five months

Treatment with a drug normally used for a bone marrow condition has completely reversed baldness caused by alopecia in three patients, scientists in the US have announced. The sufferers had lost at least a third of the hair on their heads, and each regained total hair regrowth within five months of being treated with ruxolitinib, which is approved in the US and EU for treatment ofmyelofibrosis.

One of the team from Columbia University Medical Centre, Professor Angela Christiano, has herself suffered from the condition, and described it as: “Not life threatening, but it is life altering”.

The results are announced in the online edition of Nature Medicine journal, by the team from Columbia, who previously identified the immune cells responsible for destroying the hair follicles. The treatment would not work for the more common male-pattern baldness, which is linked to hormones.

The scientists tested two FDS-approved drugs known as JAK inhibitors, ruxolitinib and tofacitinib, on mice – where hair loss was completely reversed and the effects proved long lasting – and have now gone on to test ruxolitinib on human patients. Christiano said it was wrong to dismiss the condition as unimportant. Read full article…

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