The autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata which causes sudden, patchy hair loss is at the centre of a new clinical trial aimed at finding a new treatment option for children.
The disease affects around three per cent of people worldwide, but children are perhaps the least well-equipped to deal with it. They not only have to face the daily stares of naive classmates, but they are not able many of the treatment options currently available to adults.
Despite this, there are only a handful of registered clinical trials currently exploring possible new treatments for paediatric Alopecia Areata. And the latest to be announced – by Swiss company Legacy Healthcare – is giving very little away.
Few details released
The details of Legacy’s study, submitted to clinicaltrials.gov, gives only a passing mention of the drug being tested – it appears to be a solution named LH-8, which it can be assumed is a new formulation the company is developing.
The trial will be a double-blind, randomised multi-centre study and aims to evaluate the safety and efficacy of LH-8 (compared to a placebo) in children and adolescents aged between two and 18 years of age, with moderate to severe forms of Alopecia Areata.
A total of 100 children are to be recruited for the trial, with test centres lined up in Germany, Bulgaria and Romania.
Legacy describes itself on its website as “a Swiss-based biopharma company focused on the development of innovative botanical drugs in oncology supportive care and dermatology.”
There is a degree of scepticism in some corners of medicine about whether botanical products are sufficiently effective, though multiple studies do show that they may offer some relief to people with a number of different conditions. What may be said of botanicals is that, in cases of hair loss at least, such plant-based products would generally fall into the category of adjunctive, alternative therapy.
Whilst those considered ‘primary hair loss treatments’ are clinically-proven and approved by the relevant medical boards for use, secondary “hair growth boosters” tend to be therapeutic devices with FDA-clearance, or other forms of therapy with compelling evidence backing their claims. These are generally only recommended to be used alongside the primary medications. Alternative therapies include acupuncture, naturopathy and Ayurvedic medicine. These should be approached with caution as despite their appearance of being something of a ‘natural remedy‘, this does not mean they are always free of side effects.
Alopecia areata in adults
At Belgravia, Alopecia Areata treatment for patchy hair loss when it affects the scalp only, is possible for medically-suitable clients aged 16 years and over.
A tailored course based around appropriate topical applications of high strength minoxidil from the recommended formulations available from Belgravia’s in-clinic pharmacies may be prescribed. Boosters, including the hair growth supplement Hair Vitalics, may often form part of the treatment, too.
This approach has shown significant results for many clients, though in cases of more extreme autoimmune hair loss – Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis – this is not advisable. These conditions, which cause total baldness and can also affect the hair in areas other than the scalp, currently have no proven, reliable and safe treatment options, though research into possible options is proving promising.
Legacy’s trial, if successful, may turn out to be a blessing to young people with Alopecia Areata, even if it only turns out to speed up recovery times by a fraction. Equally, of course, it is possible that the company has hit upon a new wonder formula that proves to be of enormous benefit to children with the condition. Results of the trial are expected in 2019.
For any children with hair loss, as well as their parents, guardians or friends, who may need support, there are many charities who can help. Little Princess Trust and, its boys division, Hero by LPT provide real-hair wigs to children in need, free of charge. Other charitable hairloss organisations such as Alopecia UK can also provide outstanding assistance, including events and local support groups.
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.