Do JAK inhibitors help AGA?
It's clear that JAK inhibitors like tofacitinib and ruxolitinib help alopecia areata, a specific autoimmune disease affecting 2 % of the world. But what about genetic hair loss - is there any evidence these drugs help this condition?
The answer is 'maybe'. Studies by Columbia University researcher Angela Christiano has shown the JAK inhibitors provide a very strong signal to get hairs growing. It remains to be seen if these signals are sufficient to help androgenetic alopecia (male and female genetic hair loss). In Sept 2015, Aclaris bought the rights to further study JAK inhibitors. This is interesting and may point to some benefits we have yet to fully understand.
Oral JAK inhibitors don't appear to help AGA that much, as patents with alopecia areata and genetic hair loss can improve their alopecia areata - but not their androgenetic alopecia. Nevertheless, topical products may act differently and studies in this area are needed.
Harel et al. Pharmacologic inhibition of JAK-STAT signaling promotes hair growth. Science Advances 2015
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Vancouver office at 604.283.9299