Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

In hairless man, arthritis drug spurs hair growth -- lots

Date:
June 19, 2014
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
A man with almost no hair on his body has grown a full head of it after a novel treatment. There is currently no cure or long-term treatment for alopecia universalis, the disease that left the 25-year-old patient bare of hair. This is the first reported case of a successful targeted treatment for the rare, highly visible disease.

These panels show the patient's head a) before treatmen with tofacitinib, b) two months into treatment, c) five months into treatment, and d) eight months into treatment.
Credit: Image courtesy of Yale University

A man with almost no hair on his body has grown a full head of it after a novel treatment by doctors at Yale University.

Related Articles


There is currently no cure or long-term treatment for alopecia universalis, the disease that left the 25-year-old patient bare of hair. This is the first reported case of a successful targeted treatment for the rare, highly visible disease.

The patient has also grown eyebrows and eyelashes, as well as facial, armpit, and other hair, which he lacked at the time he sought help.

"The results are exactly what we hoped for," said Brett A. King, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine and senior author of a paper reporting the results online June 18 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. "This is a huge step forward in the treatment of patients with this condition. While it's one case, we anticipated the successful treatment of this man based on our current understanding of the disease and the drug. We believe the same results will be duplicated in other patients, and we plan to try."

The patient had previously been diagnosed with both alopecia universalis, a disease that results in loss of all body hair, and plaque psoriasis, a condition characterized by scaly red areas of skin. The only hair on his body was within the psoriasis plaques on his head. He was referred to Yale Dermatology for treatment of the psoriasis. The alopecia universalis had never been treated.

King believed it might be possible to address both diseases simultaneously using an existing FDA-approved drug for rheumatoid arthritis called tofacitinib citrate. The drug had been used successfully for treating psoriasis in humans. It had also reversed alopecia areata, a less extreme form of alopecia, in mice.

"There are no good options for long-term treatment of alopecia universalis," said King, a clinician interested in the treatment of rare but devastating skin diseases. "The best available science suggested this might work, and it has."

After two months on tofacitinib at 10 mg daily, the patient's psoriasis showed some improvement, and the man had grown scalp and facial hair -- the first hair he'd grown there in seven years. After three more months of therapy at 15 mg daily, the patient had completely regrown scalp hair and also had clearly visible eyebrows, eyelashes, and facial hair, as well as armpit and other hair, the doctors said.

"By eight months there was full regrowth of hair," said co-author Brittany G. Craiglow, M.D. "The patient has reported feeling no side effects, and we've seen no lab test abnormalities, either."

Tofacitinib appears to spur hair regrowth in a patient with alopecia universalis by turning off the immune system attack on hair follicles that is prompted by the disease, King said.

The drug helps in some, but not all, cases of psoriasis, and was mildly effective in this patient's case, the authors said.

King has submitted a proposal for a clinical trial involving a cream form of tofacitinib as a treatment for alopecia areata.

He cited work by Columbia University scientist Angela Christiano as the reason he decided to try tofacitinib as a therapy in this patient with both alopecia universalis and psoriasis. She has shown that tofacitinib and a related medicine reverse alopecia areata in mice. King called her work exemplary and a clear example of how society's investment in science research leads to improvement in human life.

"This case highlights the interplay between advances in science and the treatment of disease," he said, "and it provides a compelling example of the ways in which an increasingly complex understanding of medicine, combined with ingenuity in treatment, benefits patients."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. The original article was written by Eric Gershon. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brittany G Craiglow, Brett A King. Killing Two Birds with One Stone: Oral Tofacitinib Reverses Alopecia Universalis in a Patient with Plaque Psoriasis. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/jid.2014.260

Cite This Page:

Yale University. "In hairless man, arthritis drug spurs hair growth -- lots." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140619125329.htm>.
Yale University. (2014, June 19). In hairless man, arthritis drug spurs hair growth -- lots. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140619125329.htm
Yale University. "In hairless man, arthritis drug spurs hair growth -- lots." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140619125329.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins