Question: Do we know if JAK Inhibitor treatment for Alopecia Areata will be topical or oral? Do we know an approximate date/year this treatment will be available? Are there any JAK trials being offered by Belgravia or in London? Thanks.
Answer: Hi, Jason. Belgravia isn't involved in these clinical trials - they are mostly taking place at Columbia University and Yale University in the States - but from the information they have released, we understand researchers are exploring both topical and oral administrations of JAK inhibitors.
The initial 'discovery' of tofacitinib (brand name: Xeljanz) as a potential treatment for Alopecia Areata occurred when the drug was actually being investigated for treating psoriasis. The patient researchers at Columbia were treating with the drug for plaque psoriasis just so happened to also have Alopecia Universalis. He regrew a full head of hair within seven months and took the medication orally.
Information was made available just this week from a follow-up trial, also at Columbia and run by the same team as the first, which is headed up by Professor Angela Christiano who herself has had Alopecia Areata. From this, it appears that they tested topical applications of both tofacitinib and ruxolitinib, which proved to be more effective in restoring hair loss than the oral version.
Pharmaceutical company Rigel recently announced a partnership with Aclaris Therapeutics International Limited to develop JAK inhibitor treatments for Alopecia Areata. However, whether or not they have links with the aforementioned studies are unknown. The specific JAK inhibitors involved were not revealed either; in addition to tofacitinib and ruxolitinib, baricitinib has also been explored with encouraging results.
In all instances, research and development is still on-going and it can take several years for a new hair loss treatment to be produced due to the number of tests required to ensure any drugs meet all necessary safety and efficacy criteria. We hope to have further JAK inhibitor news early next year when new trial information is due to become available, and hopefully this will give a better indication as to a likely timeline for any successful treatments to be made available to Alopecia Areata patients. We will report further on the Belgravia blog as soon as we receive the latest findings or have any other pertinent news on this, so do check back for updates.
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