Small molecules have demonstrated remarkable efficacy in alopecia areata and vitiligo. In both autoimmune diseases, Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors are the first specific effective therapy.
Alopecia areata (AA) is a non-scarring alopecia, which affects about 1-2% of the population. As Prof. Brett King (Yale University School of Medicine, USA) emphasised, there is a high medical need for treatment options, especially for advanced disease . Research using human clinical samples and a mouse model demonstrated that cytotoxic T lymphocytes mediate AA in part through JAK signalling . IL-15 and IFNγ are key cytokines in the development of AA and can be blocked by JAK inhibitors.
The first report of the efficacy of a JAK inhibitor was published after a psoriasis patient with concomitant AA was treated with tofacitinib and experienced a complete regrowth of hair . After this experience, a first open-label trial with the JAK inhibitor tofacitinib was p...
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