A Baldness Cure Isn’t Here Yet, But New Research Is Promising

No one is claiming a cure for baldness just yet, but researchers at Columbia University Medical Center may have taken an important step in that direction.

In a series of experiments involving mice and human tissue, the scientists showed that enzyme-blocking drugs known as JAK inhibitors can cause significant regrowth of hair when applied to the skin.

The unexpected finding raises the possibility that these medications might be used to restore hair growth in men and women experiencing pattern baldness, as well as in cancer patients who have lost hair as a result of chemotherapy treatments. Oral versions of the medicines have already been approved by the FDA to treat other medical conditions.

“What we’ve found is promising, though we haven’t yet shown it’s a cure for pattern baldness,” Dr. Angela M. Christiano, associate professor of molecular dermatology at the center and the leader of the new research, said in a written statement. “More work needs to be done to test if JAK inhibitors can induce hair growth in humans using formulations specially made for the scalp.”

More work, certainly. But that didn’t stop hair loss experts from hailing the new research.

“This is a very exciting discovery,” Dr. Nicole Rogers, a dermatologist and hair transplant surgeon in New Orleans, told The Huffington Post in an email. “It would be very exciting if this class of medicines could indeed solve the problem of male and female pattern hair loss. These conditions are the most common causes of hair loss and can be devastating when they occur in very young people.”

The discovery grew out of research conducted by Christiano on alopecia areata, a form of hair loss that arises when the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles.

When JAK inhibitors were applied —> Read More