Ruxolitinib (Jakafi) May Cure Alopecia Areata
added 16th October 2014
Scientists in America have discovered a pill that could potentially cure Alopecia Areata.
Research carried out by scientists at New York’s Columbia University Medical Centre have managed to identify the T-cell immune cells as being responsible for destroying hair follicles. This breakthrough has allowed them to test a number of treatments that have been shown to stop the destruction of hair follicles in mice, including ruxolitinib.
Ruxolitinib, brand name ‘Jakafi’, is an FDA-approved JAK inhibitor drug that is generally used to treat myelofibrosis, cancers and a number of inflammatory diseases. It comes in the form of an oral pill.
Clinical trials were carried out on three male alopecia areata sufferers with almost totally bald scalps, who were all given ruxolitinib twice per day. All three of these test subjects regrew a full head of hair within three to four months.
Ruxolitinib’s side effects when used to treat myelofibrosis conditions range from black, tarry stools and bladder pain, to blood in the urine or stools, and large, blue or purplish patches in the skin. However, its side effects for alopecia areata patients are still being investigated.
Study doctor Raphael Clynes, MD of Columbia University, explained: ‘We’ve only begun testing the drug in patients, but if the drug continues to be successful and safe, it will have a dramatic positive impact on the lives of people with this disease.’
Professor Angela Christiano, herself an alopecia sufferer and one of the ruxolitinib study’s authors said: ‘Patients with alopecia areata are suffering profoundly, and these findings mark a significant step forward for them. The team is fully committed to advancing new therapies for patients with a vast unmet need.’
Practising dermatologist at Columbia University, Professor David Bickers, advised: ‘There are few tools in the arsenal for the treatment of alopecia areata that have any demonstrated efficacy. This is a major step forward in improving the standard of care for patients suffering from this devastating disease.’
Thanks to these promising results, more clinical trials are due to be carried out to thoroughly investigate whether ruxolitinib could be an effective treatment for alopecia areata, as well as testing its suitability for treating other hair loss conditions, such as genetic baldness.