Scientists investigating hair loss in alopecia sufferers believe they have made a significant breakthrough.
A new treatment for hair loss could be a massive game-changer for people who suffer from the autoimmune disease.
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center found that 75% of people who took the drug ruxolitinib reported significant hair regrowth after taking it.
The breakthrough brings hope to alopecia sufferers around the world, researchers claim.
Taken over a period of four months, some of the successful results are astounding.
How does it work?
Ruxolitinib inhibits a family of enzymes known to attack hair follicles in alopecia patients.
This reawakens dormant follicles and helps hair to grow again.
Dr Julian Mackay-Wiggan, a dermatologist and associate professor at the university, said: ‘Although our study was small, it provides crucial evidence that JAK inhibitors may constitute the first effective treatment for people with alopecia areata.
‘This is encouraging news for patients who are coping with the physical and emotional effects of this disfiguring autoimmune disease.’
It is also good news for men – because the next set of trials will test how the drug works on bald men.
In the trial, 12 patients were given 20mg of oral ruxolitinib twice a day for three to six months.
Nine had hair regrowth of 50% or more – and seven of those had achieved 95% regrowth by the end of the treatment period.
However, some had suffered hair loss in the follow-up period when the medication was stopped, although it did not reach pre-treatment levels.
Currently, there are no known treatments that can completely restore hair.
The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation/Insight.