Hereditary hair loss
has affected vast numbers of men and women worldwide for centuries. Now, however, androgenetic alopecia - more commonly known as Male Pattern Baldness
and Female Pattern Hair Loss
- is becoming even more prevalent.
Research findings combined with anecdotal evidence suggest the combination of an ageing population, and the strains of modern life
- from stress to dietary issues, are contributing to rising numbers of cases. These also show a trend for young men and women are also starting to lose their hair at an earlier age
than previous generations.
Due to this increased demand, and despite effective MHRA-licensed and FDA-cleared hair loss treatments
already existing, it follows that pharmaceutical companies would want to find novel solutions to address the problem.
The latest to do so is Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc. - an American company currently best-known for its monopoly of JAK inhibitor drug patents
licensed from New York's Columbia University. This suite of janus kinase (JAK) inhibiting drugs is being developed to potentially treat severe Alopecia Areata - Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis
- autoimmune disorders which cause varying degrees of baldness and for which no compelling treatment options currently exist.
JAK inhibitor for Male and Female Pattern Baldness
Following mouse-subject trials, JAK signalling was identified as playing a key role in influencing the resting, inactive 'telogen' phase of the hair growth cycle. Therefore, researchers believed that, by manipulating the JAK-STAT pathway
using JAK inhibitors, hairs may be prompted to enter the active growth 'anagen' phase instead, resulting in increased hair growth.
Columbia University medical school researchers have been working on a JAK inhibitor hair loss solution for Alopecia Areata for a number of years, with current estimates stating oral and topical forms may be ready for release
A noticeable discrepancy has been apparent in the terms for each new JAK inhibitor patent granted to Aclaris, relating to the type of hair loss condition
the awards cover. These have not just been in relation to the various autoimmune alopecia
phenotypes the teams have been investigating during on-going clinical trials, but have also included androgenetic alopecia.
Topical hair loss treatment
It was initially suspected that commercial treatments for alopecia areata would be developed first, before clinical trials began into JAK inhibitors' potential application for genetic hair loss. However, this does not now seem to be the case, given the dermatologist-led biopharmaceutical company has announced it is starting a Phase 2 open-label study of the topical JAK inhibitor known as ATI-502 in relation to Male and Female Pattern Baldness
From the details released by Aclaris, it appears participants - 24 adults in total, 12 men and 12 women - will apply the ATI-502 solution twice per day for a total of 30 weeks, with the aim of establishing its basic safety, tolerability and efficacy in relation to genetic hair loss. The small-scale trial is taking place at three separate investigational centres across America.
According to a company press release, Dr. Stuart Shanler, Chief Scientific Officer of Aclaris, said of this new development,“This trial is the first step in evaluating the potential clinical benefit of ATI-502 topical solution in treating patients with AGA, or male/female pattern baldness
. This is an important step forward in understanding the clinical utility of our JAK inhibitors in patients with AGA
This product candidate is also in the latter stages of clinical trial testing for alopecia areata treatment
How long it will take for new treatments for Male Pattern Baldness
and women's Female Pattern Hair Loss treatment
options to be developed to the point where they can be licensed or approved by the relevant medical regulatory bodies - such as the MHRA and FDA - is unknown. Because of this, whilst the area of JAK inhibition and its relationship to hair growth and hair loss is extremely exciting, it is worth noting that androgenetic alopecia is a permanent, progressive condition.
Therefore, anyone concerned about losing their hair now is best advised to seek help as early as possible rather than wait for new developments - even if this means starting one course of clinically-proven treatments and supporting hair growth boosters
now and switching in a few years time, when the next generation of hair loss treatments become available and with all necessary certification granted.