Following on from several encouraging trials into the use of JAK inhibitors as possible future treatments for severe Alopecia Areata-related hair loss last year, an American company is moving its own study into a modified version of one such drug up a notch.
Concert Pharmaceuticals, headquartered in Lexington, Massachusetts, were encouraged enough by results from a Phase 1 single and ascending dose study into the use of a drug named CTP-543, which is a deuterium-modified anolog of the JAK inhibitor ruxolitinib, to announce a Phase 2a study. They are specifically looking at how it works as a treatment option for people with hair loss caused by the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata.
Bone marrow cancer drug
Ruxolitinib is a bone marrow cancer drug that has been approved to treat cancer patients since at least 2011, but as with all JAK inhibitors there have been some concerns about side-effects. The Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitor suite of dugs have nonetheless sparked huge interest among the medical community not least because they have proven to show promise at treating some conditions they weren’t designed for. Indeed, their use on people with the more sereve types of Alopecia Areata were discovered almost by accident.
Concert Pharma believe that their modified version of ruxolitinib is potentially a first-in-class new drug candidate, thanks in no small part to some of the attributes of deuterated drugs, one of which is an increased half-life – the time the drug stays in the bloodstream- which the company states can prolong a compound’s pharmacokinetic profile, which is an increase in the half-life of the compound in the body.
“This may decrease the number of doses that a patient is required to take per day or provide more consistent exposure of the compound in comparison to a similar non-deuterated compound,” the company states in a recent press release, adding that in certain cases, improved consistency of exposure can lead to enhanced efficacy and/or tolerability.
Well-tolerated so far
The Phase 2a trial is to last 28 weeks and will assess the efficacy of four doses on people with Alopecia Areata: 4, 8, 12 and 16mg of CTP-543 twice daily. Concert say that their last trial showed the drug to be ‘well-tolerated’ across all dose groups with no serious adverse events reported. Details as to how the drug will be administered – orally or topically – are not provided in the press release circulated by the company.
The reason this and other tests into JAK inhibitors as possible treatments for Alopecia Areata is that extreme forms of the condition, specifically Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis, which lead to total baldness of the scalp, as well as additional hair loss to the face and entire body respectively, are currently impossible to treat. This is in contrast to the scalp-only, patchy hair loss caused by Alopecia Areata which has a number of treatment options already available.
At Belgravia we have found topical applications of high strength minoxidil, from the range available from our in-clinic pharmacies, paired with appropriate boosters and individually tailored to each client’s needs, to be widely effective. This simple, easy-to-use treatment routine has produced significant regrowth for many clients, a selection of whom can be seen in our Alopecia Areata Treatment Success Stories gallery.
It is encouraging to see so many new potential treatments for Alopecia Totalis and Universalis being developed in order to give sufferers the same regrowth opportunities as those affected by Alopecia Areata. However, it is worth bearing in mind that these new drugs are all still in the early stages of testing – a process which can take many, many years to complete. As such it will most likely be a number of years – assuming they do actually meet all safety, efficacy and tolerability requirements – until these drugs get to the point where widespread release could be considered.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.