So JAK Inhibitors Could yet Still Cure AGA?

After my relatively long break, I had a lengthy post planned for today, but need to delay it due to a potentially great new development.

Summary of the Recent Past

In 2014, the biggest news in the hair loss world involved two separate developments related to two different JAK inhibitors (Ruxolitinib and Tofacitinib — search for both on this blog’s “Categories” menu as there are numerous posts on them) curing alopecia areata.  While those developments were incredibly exciting and groundbreaking, unfortunately the vast majority (>95 percent) of balding men and women suffer from androgenic alopecia (AGA) rather than alopecia areata (AA).  However, in 2014, Dr. Brett King did suggest that there was a possibility that JAK inhibitors could also cure androgenic alopecia during his interview with Spencer Kobren. In my own analysis, I have always stated that for many androgen related hair loss sufferers, perhaps there is also an inflammatory component (hence the increased itching and dandruff) and such cases could benefit from JAK inhibitors.

Thereafter, there was no news on this potential cure for AGA for a while, until in 2015 the one and only Dr. Angela Christiano posted results (albeit in mice) that suggested that JAK inhibitors could treat androgenic alopecia.  A must read post.  Moreover, this could occur via a topical (as opposed to oral) formulation of the two main candidate drugs: Ruxolitinib and Tofacitinib!

Thereafter, silence yet again for a long time.  Even worse, Christopher1 on hairsite stated that JAK inhibitors did not cure his androgenic alopecia.  He seems like a very reliable forum member over there so I was disappointed. However, the one good thing is that we do not know how accurately people are using JAK inhibitors at the moment since some are using off-label products, some are going to inexperienced physicians, some are trying topical experiments etc… so I still had some hope.  In any event, please be aware of the risks involved in these experiments and do not try them yourself.  Always see a physician before trying any drug to treat hair loss.

Thereafter, further contributing to the bipolar disorder and mood swings, on March 5 2016, a commentator named “Rick” posted an interesting comment on this blog that was largely ignored (and I am very surprised at this).  Although I hate to trust any one such commentator (especially in this particular case since he is also using Minoxidil as part of his treatment), I will still paste his comment below since it was missed by so many blog readers:

Just want you all to know that I have had very good success. With using tofacitinib 30% mixed with minoxidil. I have been doing this process topically for 3 months and have achieved full follicle growth! I will update you more in 30 days. And yes that is for male pattern baldness.

Perhaps “nasa_rs” has influenced me too much and I am looking for any positive signs?

Today

In any event the whole reason for this post is that today came news that Aclaris Therapeutics was buying Vixen Pharmaceuticals (Dr. Angela Christiano and Columbia University affiliated company).  See Form 8-K here.  At first, when I read a one paragraph news alert summary of this acquisition, I did not think much of this development since I had been to Aclaris’ website in the past and remember reading that they only deal with Alopecia Areata related drugs.

However, I then read a lengthier article about this latest acquisition and some things (see below in red font) clearly stood out:

“As a result of this transaction, Aclaris acquired worldwide rights to intellectual property licensed to Vixen by Columbia University covering the use of certain Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitor compounds for the treatment of alopecia areata, androgenetic alopecia and other dermatological conditions.”

“The acquisition of the Vixen intellectual property and the licensed JAKPharm and Key Organics compounds solidifies Aclaris’ presence in the JAK inhibitor space and allows us to broaden our focus in hair loss to include androgenetic alopecia, often referred to as female or male pattern baldness,” said Neal Walker, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aclaris. [HT: Commentator Julian for pointing out that Mr. Walker is also CEO of Follica].

“We are delighted to enter into this agreement with Aclaris for the development of JAK inhibitors for alopecia areata, androgenetic alopecia, and other hair loss disorders,” said Dr. Christiano.”

In conclusion, welcome back nasa_rs.

Brief Items of Interest, March 2016

Hair loss news first:

Since the last “brief items of interest” post a month ago, there have been numerous important developments in the hair loss world. Some involve renowned researchers that have already been covered a few times on this blog before.

— Meiji Seika Pharma (Japan) and Dr. Takashi Tsuji, head of the Laboratory for Organ Regeneration at the Riken Center for Developmental Biology (Japan), have entered into an important partnership.  Their goal is “to develop treatments to regrow lost hair.”  Apparently 12 million adult men in Japan suffer from hair loss. The partnership will focus on regenerative medicine rather than on any kind of drug development.  Japan’s new laws will also help speed up clinical trials in the regenerative medicine sector.

— Also in Japan, a new article on Shiseido mostly covers things we already know and confirms that they will start trials this year. However, the ending is of interest: “The fee to receive the treatment will be at least 100,000 yen ($887).”  A lot cheaper than I expected.

— I have covered Dr. Colin Jahoda and his 3D spheroid culturing of dermal papilla cells on this blog before.  Mr. Jahoda has been a legend in the hair loss research world since the 1980s, but it seems like he may have reached the end of his best years in terms of research.  Thankfully, the Chinese are continuing from where he left off.  A team from Southern Medical University (China) and Dr. Malcolm Xing from Canada have published an interesting update on their work with 3D spheroids.  It seems like they have improved somewhat on Dr. Jahoda’s work with a novel hanging-drop method. I am glad that they are continuing this area of crucial research.  Note that Dr. Xing gave Dr. Jahoda a good deal of credit when I interviewed the former.

— Another renowned researcher that I have covered before, Dr. Elaine Fuchs, just published an important article summarizing how stem cells get activated to produce new hair.  Forkhead box C1 (FOXC1) is a key transcriptional regulator of hair follicle stem cell activity and bulge maintenance.  Also see another summary of the same study.  One of the interesting conclusions of the article seems to imply that premature hair loss is also correlated with premature hair greying.  Something I have noticed in many people.  “Hair follicle stem cells influence the behavior of melanocyte stem cells, which co-inhabit the bulge niche,” explains Fuchs. “Thus, when the numbers of hair follicle stem cells declined with age, so too did the numbers of melanocyte stem cells, resulting in premature greying of whatever hairs were left.”

— Tiny Singapore might have a stagnant and small population, but they still care about hair loss.  Their scientists (plus others from Stanford) recently published a paper covering the gene Axin2 and autocrine Wnt/β-catenin signaling.  Complicated stuff to understand for a non-scientist such as myself.

A new cream based hair loss treatment from Yeditepe University called Kelopesia was just announced out of the blue. Their presentation is amateurish, and as soon as I hear the words “stem cells” along with “hair” these days my scam radar turns on unless the company or institution has been involved in the hair loss research field for many years.  Anyway, these guys are using foreskins for this treatment. Product will supposedly be released in a month.  If it was not a university, I would say a 100 percent certainty this is a scam.  I still feel that this is going to be a major disappointment.

Follicum press release:  successful Phase 1 safety trials.

— Antonio Conte’s hair transplant seems to have turned out to be pretty good.

Christopher1’s experience with Kerastem thread worth following. Under my last post someone posted a comment that the treatment did not work and costs a lot.

— At least once a year, we in the US get to read a story about a major Rogaine theft.  Invariably, the thief is bald and this is emphasized by the media.  I suspect all of these bald Rogaine thieves are selling most of the stolen cans rather than using their contents on their own scalps.

And now on to medical items of interest:

I will shorten this section for this month since the hair loss one was so lengthy.

— An interesting recent video interview/discussion with Dr. Aubrey de Grey, Dr. Bil Andrews and Elizabeth (Liz) Parrish (all three of whom I have covered on this blog before):

— Another recent one with just Dr. Bill Andrews:

— And another recent one with just Liz Parrish:

How long until we can print human faces in the lab?