• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
News Alert: DIRECTV Customers. Tell DIRECTV to bring back KTVA. Call 800-531-5000. - Read More
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

  • News

    Alaskans work out to end veteran suicide

    by John Thain on Feb 22, 19:15

    A special workout took place on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Wednesday in an effort to raise awareness for suicide and depression. On average, 22 of our nation’s veterans take their own lives every day, according to Mission 22. This workout, organized by 907 Crossfit, aims to get people together and put the issue out in the […]

  • Stunning space discovery: 7 Earth-size planets found orbiting dwarf star

    by William Harwood / CBS News on Feb 22, 19:00

    Astronomers have discovered seven roughly Earth-size planets very close to a cool dwarf star some 39 light-years from Earth, including three orbiting in the star’s habitable zone where liquid water, a key ingredient for life as it’s known on Earth, could be present, researchers announced Wednesday. The record-setting star system is the first to feature […]

  • Weather

    Alaska Weather Forecast – Feb. 22, 2017

    by KTVA Weather on Feb 22, 18:51

    A blizzard warning was issued for St. Lawrence Island, and a winter storm watch is in effect tonight for parts of western Alaska, according to meteorologist Carlos Faura. Follow KTVA 11’s Weather Team on Facebook and Twitter. Got a weather-related photo or story idea? Email the team at weather@ktva.com.

  • Lifestyle

    Food stamps and sweets: Should they be kept apart?

    by Aimee Picchi/CBS News on Feb 22, 18:32

    The food-stamp program is credited with helping 44 million people in America afford groceries, providing what supporters say is a needed benefit for some of the country’s most vulnerable. Yet critics of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) say the anti-hunger program is easily abused, and the latest questions about the program are stirring a […]

  • DayBreak

    Workforce Wednesday: Engineering in Alaska

    by Daybreak Staff on Feb 22, 16:11

    Alaska is home to dozens of engineering specialties, ranging from civil to mechanical, aerospace to ship building. If there’s a big infrastructure project, chances are there was an engineer involved. Engineers also make a broad salary, averaging anywhere from $46 to $73 per hour, according to Cassie Ostrander, a spokesperson for the Alaska Process Industry […]

  • Lifestyle

    Public asked to help count Anchorage moose

    by Heather Hintze on Feb 22, 15:54

    Biologists at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game need your help to count moose around the Anchorage Bowl. They haven’t been able to do their annual aerial surveys for the past few years because of bad weather and low snow. For the first time, the department is asking for the public’s help to track moose […]

  • News

    Coast Guard awards polar icebreaker design study contracts

    by KTVA / AP on Feb 22, 15:41

    The U.S. Coast Guard has awarded five fixed-price contracts for design studies and analysis of new heavy polar icebreakers. Coast Guard and Navy personnel will use the studies to refine heavy polar icebreaker specifications. “These contracts will provide invaluable data and insight as we seek to meet schedule and affordability objectives,” Rear Adm. Michael Haycock, […]

  • Politics

    Trump administration reverses Obama-era policies on transgender bathrooms

    by Emily Schultheis / CBS News on Feb 22, 15:41

    President Donald Trump’s administration on Wednesday reversed Obama-era policies requiring that public schools allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. It will now be up to states and school districts to interpret whether federal sex discrimination law applies to gender identity. A letter sent to schools nationwide Wednesday by […]