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 of myelofibrosis.
One of the team from
The results are announced in the online edition of Nature Medicine journal, by the team from
The scientists tested two 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. "Patients with alopecia areata are suffering profoundly, and these findings mark a significant step forward for them."
Alopecia areata, which typically causes patchy hair loss, is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks and destroys the hair follicles.
Of the tiny group of sufferers involved in the clinical trial, all three showed dramatic hair regrowth after treatment with a twice daily tablet for up to five months. The team leader,
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