Yes, you hear it everyday. Take this pill or use this shampoo to reverse baldness. Some good news out of Columbia University today. A study in the journal Nature Science is showing a possible treatment for alopecia areata. The disease causes severe patchy baldness through an autoimmune response.
The study shows three patients had their alopecia areata completely reversed using a bone marrow drug, ruxolitinib. Not only did it halt the disease, the study participants saw remarkable hair regrowth within five months. You know those hair commercials where it goes from bald to a full head of hair? That type of hair growth.
Before you rush to every Internet pharmacy or pester your primary care doctor, alopecia areata is not the same as male pattern baldness. Areata is thought to be an immune system response, while the more common male pattern baldness is driven by hormones. Scientists think this therapy would be less effective.
More studies are planned to see how widely the drug could be used. Who knows, male pattern baldness sufferers could get lucky for once. The drug therapy could be proven safe and effective.
As for alopecia areata patients, lead researcher Dr. Raphael Clynes remarked on the study. “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 the disease.”
The bone marrow drug is already approved in the U.S. and Europe for bone marrow conditions. If future studies can prove safety and efficacy, doctors will have a frontline treatment for alopecia areata.
If they can find a viable treatment for male pattern baldness, they just made the drug company incredibly wealthy. And, a lot of people very happy. We will just have to see where the science takes them over the next couple of years.