A cancer pill could give hope to hair loss sufferers after an encouraging pilot trial

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According to new research published in the latest edition of Nature Medicine Journal, the cancer drug ruxolitinib could restore a full head of hair within five months.

A condition that results in patches of or total baldness, it’s thought to be caused by a problem with the immune system, or more specifically the body’s T-cell immune cells which destroy the hair follicles in those with the condition. Different to other types of hair loss such as male-pattern baldness, the new finding could be the news that alopecia sufferers have been waiting for.

Following the positive identification of these cells by scientists from the Colombia University Medical Centre in New York, the team then found that the drug was able to impair them and hence reduce hair loss as a result.

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The before and after pictures are quite staggering. The twice-a-day pill was tested on three male alopecia sufferers with moderate-to-severe alopecia areata, for between four and five months. After this time period, all had regrown a full head of hair.

According to lead researcher Dr Raphael Clynes, “We’ve only begun testing the drug in patients, but if the drug continues to be successful and safe, it will have a dramatic positive impact on the lives of people with this disease.”

He added, “We still need to do more testing to establish that ruxolitinib should be used in alopecia areata, but this is exciting news for patients and their physicians.”

“This disease has been completely understudied – until now, only two small clinical trials evaluating targeted therapies in alopecia areata have been performed.”