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Aus. Medical Research


AAAF along with Sinclair Dermatology are running 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.


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. Reversed by JAK Inhibitors 

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.

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