ISLAMABAD: According to recent study, the Researchers have identified a promising therapy for the disease that stimulated hair regrowth by 92 percent.
Alopecia areata is the second most common form of hair loss that occurs at any age and affects both men and women equally.
While there is currently no treatment capable of completely restoring hair, CUMC investigators have shown that topical and oral drugs that inhibit the Janus kinase (JAK) family of enzymes, known as JAK inhibitors, could potentially fill the role of stimulating hair regrowth.
"Although our study was small, it provides crucial evidence that JAK inhibitors may constitute the first effective treatment for people with alopecia areata," says Dr. Julian Mackay-Wiggan,
"This is encouraging news for patients who are coping with the physical and emotional effects of this disfiguring autoimmune disease," she adds.
A medication used to treat bone marrow malignancies called ruxolitinib, which was the focus of the CUMC research, and a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis called tofacitinib that the Stanford/Yale study explored.
"These disorders are both characterized by dysregulated signaling pathways, similar to alopecia areata, which is dominated by the interferon signaling pathway. Even though the diseases are very different, this common feature gave us the initial idea to test JAK inhibitors in people with alopecia," says Dr. Raphael Clynes, Ph.D., associate professor of dermatology at CUMC.
In the follow-up period, one third of people who had responded to the treatment proceeded to experience significant hair loss, although not to the degree of before treatment.
Skin biopsies were performed before, during, and after treatment. In responders, the biopsies showed a reduction in levels of interferon signaling and cytotoxic T lymphocytes, which are indicators of inflammatory response. They also had increased levels of hair keratins, which are proteins that indicate hair growth. These levels are similar to those seen in people without alopecia areata.
People with alopecia areata who did not respond to treatment had lower levels of inflammatory signatures in biopsy results before treatment began, which may indicate that scientists could potentially distinguish between people who will and will not respond to treatment.
"We are very excited about the use of biomarkers to follow the response of patients to this treatment," says Angela M. Christiano, Ph.D., the Richard and Mildred Rhodebeck professor of dermatology and professor of genetics and development at CUMC. "This will allow us to so monitor improvements in their gene expression signatures even before hair growth appears."