The National Alopecia Areata Foundation congratulates its advisors, Drs. Raphael Clynes (center), Angela Christiano (right) and Julian Mackay-Wiggan (left), and their team at Columbia University Medical Center for their exciting preliminary findings with an FDA-approved drug which has produced near complete hair regrowth in several patients with moderate-to-severe alopecia areata. We applaud the publication of these results in Nature Medicine this month.
This triumph is the result of a long history of Genome Wide Association Studies conducted by Dr. Christiano and supported by NAAF with well-characterized samples from the Registry, Biobank and Clinical Trials Network, a key component of our Alopecia Areata Treatment Development Program. This earlier groundbreaking research, which was published in Nature in 2010, established the genetic basis for alopecia areata, revealing underlying autoimmune mechanisms that contribute to the disease.
The genetic studies provided the clue that led to rationally selecting the Janus Kinase (JAK) pathways as a target for treatment. In a cutting-edge immunology research effort led by Dr. Clynes, the team has since performed multiple studies testing JAK inhibitors and demonstrating efficacy in animal models, and this work is now culminating in pilot studies of two FDA-approved drugs in small patient populations. The Columbia Team plans to launch additional clinical studies to further investigate these findings. Click here to learn more.
While the results are encouraging, we wish to remind the alopecia areata community this is a preliminary study in a small population. Larger, more robust clinical trials are necessary to fully evaluate safety, efficacy and durability. JAK inhibitors as a class of drugs are potent immunosuppressive agents, and in patients with underlying diseases, have been associated with significant side effects. These adverse effects may be less commonly seen in alopecia areata patients, who in general are otherwise healthy.
The importance of the Alopecia Areata Registry, Biobank and Clinical Trials Network (Registry) is demonstrated by the valuable research of Dr. Christiano, who received crucial early grant support from NAAF for the genetic studies. Along with Drs. Clynes and Mackay-Wiggan, members of the Columbia team have been active participants in the NAAF Research Summits aimed at developing new treatments. Without quick and easy access to well-characterized samples through the Registry – and the strategic framework of the Alopecia Areata Treatment Development Program and associated Research Summits – these breakthroughs would never have been realized in only a few short years. If you would like to help with future clinical trials, please join the Registry and add to our nearly 10,000 registrants.
There are currently 6.5 million people in the US that have, had, or will have alopecia areata in their lifetime and over 145 million worldwide. As Dr. Christiano knows firsthand from her own personal experience with the disease, alopecia areata is too often dismissed as simply an appearance-altering disease. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” she said in a recent statement at Columbia University. “Patients with alopecia areata are suffering profoundly, and these findings mark a significant step forward for them. The team is fully committed to advancing new therapies for patients with a vast unmet need.”
For more information about how NAAF plans to support this exciting research through our Alopecia Areata Treatment Development Program, please contact Maureen Smith, Chief Development Strategist, via email or 415-472-3780.
Bravo Doctors. Thanking God for giving you the wisdom to do this.
Curious to know it's efficacy with Androgenetic, which I have now, but have had Areata in the past.
when we can star the taking these medicine?
we are all thinking the same thing... But I am afraid it will take time... need 4 phase... and then Market access needs to get public and private coverage. if it is biologics, these drugs costs a LOT
This is incredible news! Even if the drug is years away from being on the market, it's a step in the right direction for everyone suffering from auto immune disorders.
I was just at NAAF Headquarters today!
if we live in different coutry how can we take this medicine?
This is a new frontier. Work in progress!
Nice job !