Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer’s route to a possible new hair loss
solutions looks to be continuing apace, with the announcement that it is recruiting for participants in a key trial.
As previously announced
, Pfizer is testing two drugs, which have been given the code names Pf-06651600 and Pf-06700841, on people with the autoimmune disorder alopecia areata
and its more extreme forms, alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis
Drugs related to Xeljanz?
Little is known of these two drugs, but there is a possibility that they may be variants of an existing Pfizer drug, tofacitinib citrate, which the company sells under the brand name Xeljanz
; one of them could even be that very drug in another name. Xeljanz is an existing oral medication that has already been clinically-proven and cleared for its current remit: treating severe rheumatoid arthritis. As is the case with many drugs, it has subsequently shown promise at treating other things one of them being autoimmune alopecia
. However, the drug has not been cleared for use on this.
Pfizer has announced that the drugs it is trialling belong to a suite of drugs known as janus kinase inhibitors, better known as JAK inhibitors.
This is the same group that tofacitinib / Xeljanz belongs to.
The multinational appears to be something of a late late starter when it comes to the notion of adapting JAK inhibitors for specific use on people with the various forms of alopecia areata, as other companies and research groups have been trialling various forms of these drugs for several years sometimes with notable successes, but other times with mixed results
. Given Pfizer’s near-bottomless pockets and access to some of the world best research teams, it would be unwise to write it off in the race to bring a new alopecia drug to market. Continues below...
The reason why so many companies appear to be chasing the same goal is because existing treatment methods cannot effectively regrow hair in cases of the more severe forms of alopecia.
Whereas the scalp-only patchy form of alopecia areata can be treated
, people presenting with extreme hair loss caused by the disease have very few options, none of which have shown themselves to be truly or consistently successful. Furthermore, thanks to increased research into hair loss disorders, including Columbia University's breakthrough studies which are resulting in patented JAK inhibitors
to treat alopecia areata, totalis and universalis, there is more information about this enigmatic autoimmune disorder available than ever, leading to an increased focus for researchers hoping to develop a cure.
According to the latest news of Pfizer’s trial, recorded in its registration at clinicaltrials.gov
, the company will be recruiting 132 people with alopecia areata and its more extreme forms for a trial that will last for approximately 85 weeks. It will take place at between 30 and 40 sites, including hospitals and medical centres in California, Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Colorado, New York, and further afield in Canada and Australia.
The official title of the trial is “A Phase 2a Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Multicentre Study With An Extension Period To Evaluate The Efficacy And Safety Profile Of Pf-06651600 And Pf-06700841 In Subjects With Moderate To Severe Alopecia Areata.”
Alopecia areata treatment
When people present to Belgravia
with the bald spots or patches of hair loss synonymous with alopecia, they are often comforted to know that the scalp-only phenotype can generally be treated in people aged 16 and over who are deemed medically suitable.
They are often further encouraged by the Alopecia Areata Treatment Success Stories
showing other patients pictured before and after starting treatment, whose hair loss cleared up significantly - in many cases, with full regrowth visible.
Whilst results may vary and are not guaranteed given everyone responds differently, Belgravia finds that its alopecia areata treatment
- which involves a bespoke course featuring daily topical applications of the drug high strength minoxidil
to the affected areas - has a high success rate. Unlike for permanent genetic hair loss conditions, treatment for alopecia areata does not need to be used on an on-going basis. Once the hair regrowth has reached its optimum levels, treatment can be stopped.
As former Belgravia patient Laura says in the video above, "I posted everything online which was the best thing I did because I got so many comments back from people that had the problem, weren't sure where to go, what to do, so we've got like a little family. And even now I'm off treatment I still get people emailing me, which is nice."
"I'd definitely recommend Belgravia to anyone I know, regardless of it being alopecia or pattern baldness - anything... mine [hair growth recovery] was only six months - which I thought it could be years - and it was the best thing I ever done." Laura's treatment went so well that she not only experienced full regrowth, but she then cut and donated her hair
to the charity Little Princess Trust so that it could be made into a real hair wig for children with hair loss.