Category Archives: Aclaris Therapeutics

Aclaris Therapeutics Countdown Begins

As usual my plans to avoid talking about Aclaris for several months went down the tubes yet again (always a good thing). For those who are new to this blog, you can go to the “Categories” menu and select the “Aclaris Therapeutics” choice to read all my prior posts about the company. It is developing a unique topical JAK inhibitor product to treat androgenetic alopecia, the most common type of hair loss.

Aclaris Therapeutics Phase II Trials Commencing

Yesterday, blog reader “Champpy” made a highly interesting lengthy comment about the soon to start Aclaris Therapeutics Phase 2 clinical trials for their topical JAK inhibitor product named ATI-50002 (for treating male pattern hair loss). He was approached by a research company that is recruiting volunteers for the trials. The most important part of his comment was that they are especially interested in patients who are at least Norwood 3, 4, and 5 on the receding hairline scale. This caught my eye, because the implication is that the company expects ATI-50002 (if effective) to regrow hair even on entirely balding regions of the scalp.

Moreover, Aclaris also updated its clinical trials page yesterday with far more details (h/t “Tocatta”). While they mention that they are looking for 24 male and female participants, the research company that approached “Champpy” said that there was major interest from people interested in volunteering. I wonder if they can change their minds and recruit more than 24 people? Or maybe they are recruiting 24 people in each location that they mention on there (Colorado, Oregon and Texas) for a total of 72? The trials are expected to be completed at the end of October 2018.

Having mentioned all the above encouraging and speedy developments, it is still a good idea to keep things in perspective:

  1. There is a possibility that this topical JAK inhibitor treatment can cause serious side effects, including cancer. At the moment, this possibility looks to be rare to nonexistent, but it is too soon to tell for sure. Of course at the slightest sign of cancers or tumor growth, clinical trials will likely be disbanded immediately by the US FDA.
  2. Even on alopecia areata patients who often see tremendous hair regrowth with oral JAK inhibitors (e.g., see here and here), success rates have not been universal. Some patients see no regrowth at all, although at least half seem to get great results. So even if this treatment does end up working on those with androgenetic alopecia, it is likely that some people will never see any benefits.

I have mentioned this a number of times, but it is worth repeating: Aclaris is the first ever company involved in the search for a hair loss cure that has moved along faster than expected. In all other cases that I can remember from the past, companies involved in this sector have moved along far slower than expected, with numerous delays in trials and funding. Oftentimes, these companies have decided not to proceed with final stage clinical trials; or have sold rights to other companies; or have decided not to bring a product to the market even if it is somewhat effective at regrowing hair.

Hopefully Aclaris keeps surprising us and goes All The Way in this year of Shohei Ohtani.

Also, in March and April 2018, Aclaris CEO Neal Walker purchased almost 20,000 of his company’s shares.

March Madness 2018 in the Hair Loss World

— I covered Dr. Lu Le in detail in May of last year due to his team’s groundbreaking discovery related to Krox20 and its impact on hair growth and hair pigmentation. In a new video interview Mr. Le says:

“It will not be tomorrow. It is in the realm of possibility. We are working really hard in the lab to make it happen.”

Ed Cooley Hair
Ed Cooley Alopecia Areata

— For those of you in the US, this is the traditional March Madness month of playoffs in college basketball. A great excuse to frequent and support your local pubs. One of the most discussed teams so far this year has been Providence (unfortunately they were eliminated today). As is often the case in sports, Providence coach Ed Cooley is a bigger attention grabber than the team’s players. The most admirable thing abut Mr. Cooley is that despite suffering from alopecia areata (i.e., patchy hair loss) for years, he does not care and never discusses the subject. In the above image from a game earlier in the week, he is wearing a towel because he ripped his pants after a fit of exuberance and decided to cover the tear up rather than waste precious game time going to the changing room. Thankfully, he never covers up his patchy hair loss.

— I am not going to write yet another post on Aclaris Therapeutics as requested by several people. However, it is worth checking out blog reader “Malcolm”‘s useful comments in the last post based on Aclaris’ latest investor conference presentation (which can be listened to via the company’s website and includes attached slides). The company is definitely on schedule to finish Phase 2 trials by mid-2019 as announced a few weeks ago and covered on this blog. Also, Aclaris was granted yet another new patent covering the use of JAK inhibitors to treat hair loss disorders, including androgenetic alopecia (which most of us care about the most). Patent details here.

— On a related note, a new study from Dr. Angela Christiano’s Columbia University lab titled “Hair Growth Is Induced by Blockade of Macrophage-derived Oncostatin M and Downstream Jak-stat5 Signaling in Hair Follicle Stem Cells”. The author’s unusual name (Dr. Wang Cho Ee Etienne) stands out just as much as the paper title.

— In 2016, I wrote a post in relation to umbilical cord Wharton’s jelly-derived mesenchymal stem cells (WJMSCs) and hair regeneration. I had forgotten about the subject till I read a new article (h/t “Paul Pheonix”) about South Korea based Medipost being granted a domestic patent related to “stem cell culture fluids preventing hair loss”. It seems like these stem cells will be derived from umbilical cord blood.

— Apparently Monat sold $200 million worth of hair care products in 2017 through multi-level marketing. However, now the company is faced with mounting class-action lawsuits. Complaints range from an increase in hair loss to major scalp irritation to adverse skin reactions.

Another interesting article on PolarityTE.

The Hair & Nails Symposium started in Poland yesterday. Several well known speakers and presenters from the hair loss cure world such as Dr. Antonella Tosti and Dr. Ulrike Blume-Peytavi.

Will we EVER cure baldness?

Carboxytherapy may be useful for alopecia areata treatment. Maybe also minor improvements in androgenetic alopecia patients when used as an adjuvant therapy. I am skeptical.

— Fractional non-ablative laser-assisted delivery of topical finasteride and various growth factors leads to improvement in male and female pattern hair loss. I did not try to find the entire study and see if results are superior to using plain old oral finasteride 0.5mg per day.