It’s the age old question. “What can I use to make my hair grow?”
Thanks to a new study by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center, we are getting closer to answering that question.
Ruxolitinib, a drug to treat a rare form of bone marrow disease, has been found to help some patients with alopecia. Alopecia, is an immune disease that damages hair follicles and ultimately stops them from growing. This drug causes the follicles to thwart those immune cells.
“It’s a major step forward in improving the standard of care for patients suffering from this devastating disease,” Dr. David Bickers, a dermatologist at Columbia University, said.
The first study, performed on mice, found that the drug restored hair within 12 weeks, and the new hair lasted months after the treatment stopped.
In the human study, performed on 7 women and 5 men, the drug restored hair growth fully in three patients with moderate to severe alopecia areata within four to five months. Patients were given a twice daily dose of ruxolitinib. The T-cells responsible for harming the hair follicles were no longer present in these patients too.
Lead researcher Dr. Raphael Clynes said they’ve only just begun testing the drug in patients.
“If the drug continues to be successful and safe, it will have a dramatic positive impact on the lives of people with the disease.”
More work is now needed to see if the drug can be offered more widely.
For more information on this study visit Nature Medicine at Nature.com