• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 2s

Arthritis drug helps hairless man regrow full head of hair

By Agata Blaszczak-Boxe / CBS News 8:28 AM June 22, 2014

A novel treatment involving the use of an arthritis drug helped a 25-year-old man grow a full head of hair after a rare disease left him completely hairless.

There is no known cure for alopecia universalis — the autoimmune disease that the man suffers from, which causes a loss of all body hair. Yale researchers came up with an effective targeted treatment that helped the patient grow his hair back, including eyebrows, eyelashes, facial hair and body hair.

alopecia-hair-drug-jid-2014-0170-r1-figure-2.jpg

A – Patient before treatment. B – Two months into treatment with tofacitinib. C – Three months into treatment. D – Eight months into treatment.
 YALE UNIVERSITY

“The results are exactly what we hoped for,” Dr. Brett A. King, assistant professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine and senior author of a paper outlining the results online in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, said in a statement. “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 in the study had also been diagnosed with plaque psoriasis, a condition characterized by scaly red areas of skin. The only hair he had was within the psoriasis plaques on his head. He went to Yale Dermatology to get treated for the psoriasis; he had never been treated for the alopecia.

When King examined the patient, he thought that both diseases could be addressed with the use of a single drug for rheumatoid arthritis called tofacitinib citrate. The drug had been used to treat psoriasis in people and it had been effective at reversing a less extreme from of alopecia in mice.

“There are no good options for long-term treatment of alopecia universalis,” King said. “The best available science suggested this might work, and it has.”

Indeed, after two months of treatment with 10 mg of the arthritis drug a day, the patient’s psoriasis showed some improvement. And, for the first time in seven years, the man had grown scalp and facial hair. After three more months of therapy at 15 mg a day, the patient completely regrew scalp hair and started regrowing eyebrows, eyelashes, facial hair, armpit and other hair.

“By eight months there was full regrowth of hair,” study coauthor Dr. Brittany G. Craiglow, said in a statement. “The patient has reported feeling no side effects, and we’ve seen no lab test abnormalities, either.”

Tofacitinib citrate seems to trigger hair growth by turning off the immune system attack on hair follicles that is prompted by the disease, King said.

The drug helps in some cases of psoriasis, and it was mildly effective in treating this patient’s psoriasis, the researchers said.

King has submitted a proposal for a clinical trial involving a cream form of the arthritis drug as a treatment for a less extreme form of alopecia, which causes a hair loss that is typically less extensive than alopecia universalis.

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Latest Stories

  • Sports

    Ryne Olson claims win in Copper Basin 300

    by Dave Goldman on Jan 16, 21:09

    If you follow trends, this was a no-brainer. In the past two years, Ryne Olson has taken third and second place at the Copper Basin 300 sled dog race. Like a blue chip, which grows slowly and consistently over time, this one found its highest point yet. Now you can call her a Copper Basin 300 champion. […]

  • Politics

    ‘It’s time to pull together’: Alaskans plan to attend Women’s March on Washington

    by Eric Ruble on Jan 16, 19:36

    The final preparations are underway for President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration in Washington, D.C. on Friday. However, a few hundred thousand people are expected to participate in a separate event happening the next day in the nation’s capital. The purpose of the Women’s March on Washington – according to its organizers – is to send a […]

  • News

    Red Cross volunteers install free smoke detectors for MLK Day

    by Shannon Ballard on Jan 16, 19:09

    Martin Luther King Jr. Day not only honors the life and legacy of the legendary civil rights leader, it also offers opportunities to translate his words into action. On Monday, that sense of volunteerism and community was felt in the South Park Estates trailer park off Arctic Boulevard. A group of about a dozen people with […]

  • News

    City says public can help snow-plowing operation go more smoothly

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jan 16, 18:58

    City crews will be working around the clock to get the latest snow plowed. Anchorage street maintenance director Alan Czajkowski said the plan is to continue to work to clear main roads and then get into local neighborhoods, possibly as early as Monday evening. Czajkowski said there are several things Anchorage residents can do to […]

  • Lifestyle

    Businesses cash in on winter snow storms

    by Heather Hintze on Jan 16, 18:37

    As the flakes kept falling Monday, there was no business like snow business. It was all hands on deck for Alaska Snow Removal (ASR) crews as the inches accumulated. Their first priority was plowing tarmacs at the airport, a job that hasn’t been plentiful the past few winters. “We’ve been sanding quite a bit throughout […]

  • News

    Woman killed in hit-and-run identified by family members

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 16, 18:37

    Family members have identified the woman killed in Saturday’s hit-and-run collision as Anchorage resident Ida Jackson. Anchorage police have not publicly confirmed the victim’s identity. They said in a Nixle alert that she was walking in the roadway along Elmore Road early Saturday morning when a Chevrolet Sonic struck her. She had died from her injuries […]

  • Politics

    Optimism, eagerness among Alaska’s newest legislators

    by Associated Press on Jan 16, 13:52

    Among Alaska’s newest legislators, there is optimism and an eagerness to get to work on addressing the state’s multibillion-dollar budget deficit. Rep.-elect George Rauscher of Sutton says he’s “pretty jazzed” about the legislative session opening Tuesday. Rauscher, who last year upset incumbent Rep. Jim Colver, a fellow Republican, says he anticipates legislators getting something accomplished […]

  • Lifestyle

    Can caffeine perk up heart health, too?

    by Amy Norton / Health Day / CBS on Jan 16, 13:48

    The caffeine in your morning cup of joe may do more than jolt you awake — it may also help dampen the type of inflammation that’s linked to heart disease risk factors, a new study suggests. Researchers found that an inflammatory mechanism was dialed up in certain older adults, but not others. When it was […]