LivingThey discover by chance a drug against baldness

They discover by chance a drug against baldness

Science owes a lot to lucky or chance finds – known as serendipity – those discoveries that scientists have found without looking for them . This is how x-rays, microwaves or penicillin came to us.

It is precisely in the field of pharmacology that there are many discoveries that have occurred in this way. The latter has been carried out by doctors from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), who have reported that a drug, dupilumab, approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating moderate to severe eczema (atopic dermatitis) has had a totally unexpected side effect in one of his patients.

In an article published in the monthly medical journal JAMA Dermatology , the specialists describe how this 13-year-old patient who, in addition to suffering from eczema, has total alopecia, has experienced significant hair growth after receiving treatment with dupilumab , marketed under the brand name Dupixent. This is indicated for those people whose eczema are resistant to topical treatments or for whom the latter are not recommended.

“We were quite surprised, since this patient had no hair since he was two years old and other treatments that can help in hair loss did not do it in his case,” explains Maryanne Makredes Senna, from the Department of Dermatology at MGH and lead author of the article that has seen the light in JAMA Dermatology . “As far as we know, this is the first case of a patient with some degree of alopecia areata (a form of alopecia of autoimmune origin) whose hair grows back with dupilumab.”

Are we facing a medicine that will cure alopecia?

In addition to baldness, this young patient had suffered from eczema resistant to other treatments since he was seven months old. In July 2017, he was given weekly injections of dupilumab, which had just received FDA approval (in March of that year). After a period of six weeks, the young man experienced a marked improvement in his eczema symptoms and also noticed that fine, light hairs grew on his scalp.

Within seven months of treatment, she had grown a significant amount of new, already pigmented hair. Unfortunately, a change in his health insurance coverage forced him to stop taking this medicine for two months; and the hair that had been born fell out again. But after resuming treatment in April 2018, her hair grew back .

It is still unknown whether dupilumab could induce hair growth in other patients with alopecia , but Senna suspects that “it may be useful in patients with extensive active eczema and active alopecia areata,” he stresses. “We have submitted a proposal for a clinical trial with dupilumab in this patient population and we hope to be able to investigate it further in the near future,” he highlights.

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