Bone marrow cancer drug Ruxolitinib reverses alopecia areata

For the second time in just two months, the global media has gone beserk over photos that show complete reversal of alopecia areata. The first time was two months ago in one patient of Dr. Brett King’s, via the rheumatoid arthritis drug  tofacitinib.

This time, it is via the bone marrow cancer drug ruxolitinib (approved for sale in the US and EU under brand names Jakafi and Jakavi). These current results are even more significant because:

  1. They occurred in three patients rather than just one.
  2. The research and findings were conducted by the renowned hair loss research expert Dr. Angela Christiano and her team (in particular, Dr. Raphael Clynes) at Columbia University.   In 2013, Dr. Christiano had already presented findings that both tofactinib and ruxolitinib reversed alopecia areata in mice.  Moreover, these two doctors already filed a patent related to JAK 3 inhibitors in 2012 and are bonafide experts in this field.
  3. These new findings also determine the cellular mechanism (certain set of T cells attack hair follicles) that causes hair loss in people with alopecia areata, something that was not completely understood before.

The current findings were released in the online edition of Nature Medicine yesterday.  All three patients saw excellent results within 4-5 months after taking the twice a day pill, and no adverse side effects were reported.

One of the patient’s images released by Columbia University:

Video from Columbia University:

Just as I said two months ago when the tofactinib results came out, these results are yet gain unproven to work on the majority of balding people (who suffer from androgenic alopecia rather than alopecia areata). However, no decisive study as yet has been undertaken that examines the impact of  tofactinib or ruxolitinb on people with androgenic alopecia, so the case is far from closed.  I think that there is a good chance of there being an inflammatory immune system attack component to androgenic alopecia for many people, especially those who have significant itching and dandruff associated with their hair loss.

These drugs are expensive, and potential side effects are far more serious than with a drug such as Propecia, so doctors are reluctant to conduct these studies for what they feel is a cosmetic problem. However it is only a matter of time (probably months rather than years in my opinion) before small-scale studies will be undertaken on all balding people.

Partly due to this development, Mark Blake of The Trichological Society of the UK said the following yesterday:

“It is a matter of time before we find a cure for male pattern baldness as well as alopecia.  We know so much more about hair today and how it grows. We would like to think a cure could come within five years, definitely 10.”

I am convinced that it will come by 2020.




17 thoughts on “Bone marrow cancer drug Ruxolitinib reverses alopecia areata”

  1. I hope and I think that we are really going to have “the cure” until 2020. Seems like the discoveries about hair loss are happening faster…

    1. Yeah, but they’re two related hair loss disorders (arreata and totalis) which have nothing to do with male pattern baldness.

  2. Positive energy results in positive action. Believe, speak and think it will be before 2020 and will be all inclusive.

  3. I understand the author’s annoyance of male pattern baldness but he really doesn’t understand the plight of total baldness caused by alopecia areata and the constant burning/itching sensation reported. Alopecia areata is in a whole different league to normal male pattern baldness. It is an uncomfortable autoimmune disease. I doubt ruxolitinib or tofacitinib even stimulates the same pathways that cause androgenic alopecia. That is more a hormonal (testosterone) and genetic problem. Hence why dutasteride and finasteride are used for the type of alopecia you are concerned with.

  4. Hi wasablwonton,

    I do understand the plight of those who suffer from alopecia universalis or alopecia totalis and consider both worse than MPB. However, the vast majority of people who have hair loss have MPB and that is the focus of this blog.

    It is unlikely that these drugs will cure MPB, but there is a small chance that they will, as Dr. King himself seemed to imply. Like I have said in several posts, many people with MPB (including myself) have a lot of itching and dandruff issues too that make us go crazy at times. Nizoral has helped me a lot in that battle. I believe there is a reasonable chance that MPB in many people involves both hormonal and autoimmune factors.

  5. This will be only paliative treatment…Much much better approach is Michael Pender s CD8+ tretment for MS, seems will work for AU also, as for other so called “autoimune” which seems be an natural body attack toward persistent deregulated latent pathogen / EBV in lot of cases / . Maybe best approach will be to test levels of antiviral antibodies against known latent viruses and ad existing antiviral theraphy with those new drugs to avoid spreading of viruses.

  6. How can I contact any of the doctors who found cure for alopecia?? I’m trying since I have read about it. I need details about it. Are the pills sold in America? Can i order it through DHL or Aramex? I’m from Jordan. Contact me please !

  7. Quisiera saber que efectos secundarios producen estos medicamentos durante y después del tratamiento.
    y si están a la venta, como conseguirlos.
    Sufro una alopecia areata desde los 11años, mi edad actual es de 50 años y desearía tener mi propio pelo.

    1. julia.Tengo alopecia areata desde hace casi cuatro años. El dermatólogo me receto Monoxidil, clovate, trigón,,entre otros.Empzo a caerme el pelo pero lo recupere no en su totalidad,pero me están saliendo continual calvas.Tengo una zona sin pelo que ocupa de oreja a oreja hacia el cuello toda sin pelo.Pienso que se va callendo otra vez más pelo y me veo con la pelua que todavía tengo guardada y tuve que poneerme por perdida total. Estoy viendo posibilidad de tratamiento con
      Tofacitinib o con Ruxolitinib.
      QUIén me puede asesorar, por favor?
      Puesto que estos medicamentos parecen inaccesibles si no
      padeces de artritis o de cáncer.
      Gracias.

  8. Hi
    I am a person with alopecia Universal Iran this treatment really works. ‘Iran will enter in what year? Thank you.

  9. I would like to be a test patient.I have androgenic alopecia and I follow Dr.christiano’s work.she seems very upbeat about tofacitinib and its effects on hair loss so I will gladly donate my partially bald Scalp to the study .

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