New Treatment for Alopecia?
It only seems like last week that we were proudly reporting new scientific advances in America concerning Alopecia. In fact, it was last week – the good news keeps coming though as reports are now in that medications that are also used for arthritis can possibly be used for sufferers of this severe hair loss condition in the future.
Interestingly, the scientific work has a personal angle. Dr Angela Christiano, a molecular dermatology professor at Columbia University was diagnosed with Alopecia areata in 1996 and since then, she has striven to find an alternative and effective medicine. She has the right credentials – as well as majoring in the most appropriate biological sciences, she also heralds from a family of hairdressers.
Together with her team, tests have been made on the efficacy of janus kinase inhibitors or JAK inhibitors. These are medications which stop the autoimmune system going into overdrive attacking hair follicles and causing hair loss and bald patches. The inhibitors being investigated are normally used for other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
The discovery that anti-immune drugs could be used to treat Alopecia came about by accident. Consumers using Xeljanz to treat rheumatoid arthritis and Ruxolitinib for myelofibrosis reported a reduction in hair loss. Currently Christiano’s team are giving oral and topical treatments to mice in laboratory experiments. When given to the mice as a topical gel the team have found that resulting hair growth was very encouraging.
At the moment, even though the scientific team is optimistic about the results they are seeing, these treatments are not yet approved by the governing body in America – the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There is still a lot more work and testing to do. However, it is likely that at first, like other drugs such as Rogaine, it will be a prescription drug and then it may progress to being an over the counter drug.
Sadly, this is not all going to happen tomorrow and the final testing to ensure complete safety and effectiveness and the rubber stamping involved in the approval process mean we are some years away from the medication being available for treatment – if ever. But for Alopecia sufferers these are very encouraging times. Watch this space.
By Nick Cassells
Resident writer and researcher at Skalp®
Skalp® Micro Pigmentation offers a great service for people struggling with hair loss or who just want to join the bald fashion trend and look their very best. Trained practitioners apply pigments to the scalp so it appears as if you have a full head of hair – but cut fashionably short. We are going global fast and have recently opened a clinic in New York US.
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