Cancer Drug Reverses Baldness Caused by Alopecia in Small Study

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A drug approved to treat a rare form of leukemia reversed hair loss caused by alopecia, a small study found.

The drug, ruxolitinib, helps reduce inflammation caused by disease. But it also helped three alopecia sufferers regrow full heads of hair within five months, according to the study published Sunday in the journal Nature Medicine.

“We still need to do more testing to establish that ruxolitinib should be used in alopecia," said study author Dr. Raphael Clynes, director of the Columbia Center for Translational Immunology at Columbia University in New York City. "But this is exciting news for patients and their physicians."

It’s not yet known if ruxolitinib can restore other types of hair loss.

Alopecia is an autoimmune disease that leads to patchy hair loss. It is not the same as male pattern baldness, which has its roots in genetic and hormonal causes.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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