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Hair Loss Treatment Found In Cancer Drugs

Bald Man (Hair Loss)

Drugs approved by the FDA to combat cancer and rheumatoid arthritis might help in the fight against hair loss, according to new research.

Researchers at Columbia University — the same Ivy League institution that previously developed a $34 smartphone device that tests for HIV and syphilis in just 15 minutes — tested the specialized drugs, known as JAK inhibitors, in treating a rare form of hair loss known as alopecia areata.

Prior research led by Brett King, an assistance professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine, found the rheumatoid arthritis drug capable of restoring color to a woman afflicted with vitiligo — a skin disease characterized by blotchy pigment; the same disease that afflicted the late Michael Jackson.

But back on the topic of hair restoration, the reason why JAK inhibitors may prove useful in treating baldness has to do with the way the drugs suppress inappropriate responses from the immune system.

As alopecia areata is caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking hair follicles, the drugs are able to suppress the inappropriate response — leading to thick, beautiful hair in just a matter of weeks.

Angela Christiano, one of the researchers behind the recently reported findings, was quoted by NBC News as having said that after rubbing the compound onto the skin of bald mice for five days straight, hair sprouted within 10 days and after just a few weeks, it had come in “beautifully” and “very thickly.”

The hair that came in came in beautifully and in a few weeks and very thickly.

Christiano noted that “very few compounds” have the ability to “push hair follicles into their growth cycle so quickly.”

There are very few compounds that can push hair follicles into their growth cycle so quickly (…) Some topical agents induce tufts of hair here and there after a few weeks, but very few have such a potent and rapid-acting effect.

But while all of this might sound good to those suffering from male pattern baldness, the immune system suppressants leave patients vulnerable to infections, which is why using them to resolve cosmetic concerns such as baldness is a dangerous idea.

Still, Christiano is quick to note that the topical application of such drugs would be a far safer option.

The researchers published their findings in the journal Science Advances.

The university announcement in a statement that it had filed patent applications relating to the recent discoveries reported by the team.

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