At last! A serious study looking at a topical version of the hair loss cure hopeful, JAK inhibitors. We look closer.
We have been watching their progress for what seems like forever, such is the glacial pace of progress in the world of new medicines. Aclaris Therapeutics are another of the new breed of biotech companies looking to leverage their ever expanding knowledge to deliver new medications, in the case of Aclaris the focus is on treatments for skin and hair conditions... where there are currently no FDA approved medications or where gaps in treatment exist.
Stands to reason then that hair loss, particularly the form labelled androgenetic alopecia, would be in their cross-hairs.
The Janus Kinane pathway (JAK) is thought to be responsible for delivering messages to the follicle which cause it to stop in the rest phase, which occurs just after a follicle has shed it's hair. After briefly staying in that rest phase it should move in to the anagen phase, where active growth occurs. JAK inhibitors work by interfering with those signals and allowing the follicle to move through that rest phase and into anagen... it certainly seems to have done the trick for a number of mice in the early trials of Aclaris' snappily named ATI-502.
Aclaris have announced a Phase 2 open-label study of their topical JAK inhibitor, ATI-502. It will involve a dozen men and women, so 24 in total, being treated twice a day over 30 weeks at three different facilities, all in the USA.
In the words of D. Stuart Shanler, Chief Scientific Officer at Aclaris, "This is an important step forward in understanding he clinical utility of our JAK inhibitors in patents with androgenetic alopecia."
HIS Hair Clinic
Exciting news from the USA on a subject we were only moaning about last week, the lack of a study on JAK inhibitors seemed strange given the encouraging results for the oral version. Any oral medication will take years to come to market due to the stringent testing and barriers to market entry. A topical version bypasses many of these hurdles and can be monetized quickly as an over the counter product, so long as the trials do not show any adverse effects... which has been something of a problem for the oral version. It might be that we see results from this study by the end of the year, you can be sure we will report it here.
You can see the original Global Newswire press release here
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