Research

AAAF is dedicated to supporting research into Alopecia Areata. We have provided a range of grants and supported studies into both the medical and psychological impact of this condition. 

AAAF is looking for research projects commencing in 2020. If you are a researcher involved in a project relating to Alopecia Areata, please submit an Expression of Interest to AAAF by 30/09/2019. 

Current Trials and Research

Clinical trials for new Alopecia Areata treatment options are currently running in Australia. AAAF will share updates as they become available. Be sure to register to sign up for newsletter updates.

 

Current study seeking participants 12 years or older, diagnosed with Alopecia Areata with at least 50% hair loss on the scalp. 
This study is available in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast. 

Medical Research

2019

Road Map for diagnosis -Treatment of alopecia areata: An Australian expert consensus statement

The purpose of this consensus statement is to outline a treatment algorithm for AA, including the indications for systemic treatment, appropriate choice of systemic treatment, satisfactory outcome measures and when to discontinue successful or unsuccessful treatment.

2018

The Cost to Government and Disutility of Alopecia Areata and an Investigator-Initiated, Placebo-controlled, Clinical Trial Investigating the Efficacy of Two Treatments for Alopecia Areata. 

This study aimed to quantify the effectiveness of treatments for alopecia areata. We aim to use this data to support future applications for government contribution to treatments for Alopecia Areata, including listings on the PBS.

 

Systematic Review of the efficacy, safety and management considerations for tofacitinib – JAK Inhibitor use in Dermatology. 
Tofacitinib is one of the Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitor drugs currently in trial as a treatment for Alopecia Areata. This study reviewed numerous papers about tofacitinib use to treat a range of dermatological conditions – Alopecia Areata, Atopic Dermatitis, Psorasis and Vitilago.

 Findings of most interest to individuals with Alopecia Areata include “Evidence for tofacitinibs’ efficacy in AA is stronger than for currently used systemics, which have not been subject to prospective trials. … Development of more “selective” JAK1/3 inhibitors, with theoretically less risk of hematopoietic toxicity, is presently being favored in clinical trials.” 

This poster was presented at the Australasian College of Dermatologists 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting. 

2015

AAAF along with Sinclair Dermatology ran a 28 week study (starting in June 2015) on the treatment of Alopecia Areata with topical Janus kinase (JAK) Inhibitors.
Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitors inhibit the activity of the JAK enzyme. The JAK enzymes are involved in signal transduction which plays a role in cytokine signalling. Cytokine signalling controls the growth of cells and the immune response. It is this immune response which causes alopecia areata. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the efficacy of topical JAK inhibitors ruxolitinib ointment, tofacitinib ointment, versus clobetasol diproprionate ointment and placebo.

2014

Four years ago, a team led by Professor Angela Christiano from the Columbia University Medical Centre discovered the genetic basis of alopecia areata, the most common auto-immune disease in humans. In this latest research, published in the scientific journal Nature Medicine, the same group had discovered the specific white blood cell, a type of t-cell, responsible for causing hair loss.

2013
AAAF Funds Alopecia Areata research at Epworth Dermatology / University of Melbourne
AAAF has been successful in  securing the services of Jane Li a PhD student at the University of Melbourne, studying the subtypes of immune cells (known as T cells) in Alopecia Areata. T cells are a type of white blood cell involved in various immune responses in the body.  Much evidence exists to show AA is
a T cell mediated disorder.  Memory T cells are a subset of T cells that persist in the body and provide an immunological ‘memory’.  A new type of memory T cell known as resident memory T cells (TRM cells) has recently been described which reside in the skin and play an important part in skin immune function.

The overall objective of the research project is to determine the effects of corticosteroids on immune cells, known as T-cells, in the skin of alopecia areata patients.
Corticosteroids are the most common treatment for alopecia areata, but often cause debilitating side effects and has a 20% failure rate and significant side effects.  Understanding why the significant failure rate and relapse pattern are the main drivers for this research.

 

Psychological Research

2016

AAAF engaged with RMIT University for study into the impact of physical activity on mental health and quality of life for people with Alopecia Areata. Ongoing study opportunities look toward analyzing physical and emotional barriers to physical activity experienced by people with Alopecia Areata, with a look toward identifying solutions to these barriers.

The current study is called “Associations between physical activity, quality of life (QoL) and mental health in patients with Alopecia Areata: The Physical Activity, quality of Life and Mental health (PALM) study.” by Jason Wong.

2014

AAAF engaged the University of Victoria for study entitled: “Psychosocial Impact of living with a family member with Alopecia Areata” by Jennifer Davies

2013

AAAF engaged the University of Victoria for two major pieces of psychological research.

1) The study is entitled “Alopecia and Acceptance: The Influence of Length in Time Since Diagnosis in Coping with Hair Loss Disorders.” by Ryan Veal

2) The study is entitled “Investigation the impact of Alopecia Areata on women’s self-esteem, mood states and coping”. by Jessica Martino

2012

AAAF engaged the University of Victoria to do an exploratory study into  Coping and the Psychosocial Impact of Alopecia Areata in Young Australians: An Exploratory Study by Louise Borg.