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Scientists Successfully Grow Full Head of Hair On Bald Man 109

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-for-patrick-stewart dept.
realized writes: "A man with almost no hair on his body has grown a full head of it after a novel treatment by doctors at Yale University. The patient had previously been diagnosed with both alopecia universalis, a disease that results in loss of all body hair, and plaque psoriasis, a condition characterized by scaly red areas of skin. The only hair on his body was within the psoriasis plaques on his head. He was referred to Yale Dermatology for treatment of the psoriasis. The alopecia universalis had never been treated.

After two months on tofacitinib [an FDA-approved arthritis drug] at 10 mg daily, the patient's psoriasis showed some improvement, and the man had grown scalp and facial hair — the first hair he'd grown there in seven years. After three more months of therapy at 15 mg daily, the patient had completely regrown scalp hair and also had clearly visible eyebrows, eyelashes, and facial hair, as well as armpit and other hair, the doctors said."
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Scientists Successfully Grow Full Head of Hair On Bald Man

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  • title should be... (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Friday June 20, 2014 @04:45PM (#47284705) Homepage

    "Scientists Accidentally Grow Full Head of Hair On Bald Man"

    The result was unintended, though interesting.

    • by kruach aum (1934852) on Friday June 20, 2014 @04:52PM (#47284755)

      I think in medicine the "accidental" part is assumed.

      • Apparently, this was one of those famous "that's funny..." [americanscientist.org]-moments. ;-)
      • Yeah, the guy is still dying of cancer, but damn, he'll look good in the coffin.

      • I think in medicine the "accidental" part is assumed.

        There's a name for it, Serendipity, I think it was saccharin one person said to the other to test it, the other thought they said taste it. The rest is history serendipitously. Happens all the time.

        Give a drug tested one condition and find the ones taking it don't smoke as much, a new track and quite the money maker.

        The list is large.

    • by TechyImmigrant (175943) on Friday June 20, 2014 @04:53PM (#47284761) Journal

      Or "Yet again scientist stare another bucket of evidence that inflammation underlays many human ailments from cancer to heart disease to hair loss and treating the underlying inflammation for one thing is effective in more ways than they expected"

      • by niado (1650369) on Friday June 20, 2014 @05:23PM (#47284937)

        Or "Yet again scientist stare another bucket of evidence that inflammation underlays many human ailments from cancer to heart disease to hair loss and treating the underlying inflammation for one thing is effective in more ways than they expected"

        Interesting observation. JAK inhibitors [wikipedia.org] and TNF inhibitors [wikipedia.org] (including monoclonal antibodies [wikipedia.org]), are commonly used to treat various forms of autoimmune diseases such as arthritis (in it's varying manifestations), psoriasis, IBS, ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's. These autoimmune diseases have a high rate of comorbidity and often respond to the same or similar treatments.

        Alopecia [wikipedia.org] was already thought to be an autoimmune disorder, so the observed results should not be very surprising. It seems to be only newsworthy since the treatment happened to be a total cure for a very rare disease.

        • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Friday June 20, 2014 @05:39PM (#47285045)

          Do you have any idea how much a pill that cures baldness would be worth? After erectile dysfunction that's like the holy grail of the pharmaceutical industry, a drug to treat something that's incredibly common especially in middle aged men (in theory when disposable income skyrockets) that's also very embarrassing for a smaller but still large large number of younger people.

          That's why it's news. Unfortunately for Pfizer (and the many men, including myself, who are balding) his particular baldness was almost certainly caused by a rare autoimmune disorder (and treated by a drug designed to treat similar disorder) and is therefore unlikely to produce a generalized treatment

          • by PopeRatzo (965947)

            Do you have any idea how much a pill that cures baldness would be worth?

            But this medicine would be for people who are completely hairless.

            Most men who are balding have no trouble growing a beard and some have very hairy bodies. Take a look at my Tinder profile photo to see what I mean:

            https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-QqA... [blogspot.com]

          • Except that this is a ** very rare ** form of baldness. Not your typical male pattern type. Giving the majority of people tumor necrosis factors would 1) improve a number of other chronic diseases (described above) 2) cause quite a bit of excess morbidity (TNFs predispose people to some nasty infections and weird cancers) and 3) run up a very big bill.

            Interesting, not particularly important.

            • Not your typical male pattern type.

              There is a simple cure for typical male pattern baldness: castration. Eunuchs almost never go bald.

              • Sure. For those with typical male pattern baldness, it's their hair follicles that are sensitive to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). As I understand it, DHT is created when testosterone is metabolized. Cut the nuts off, and there goes the DHT.

                • A testicular cancer survivor with very low T prior to HRT.
                  Still went bald when testosterone was under 200 and i was having male menopause symptoms.

          • by TWX (665546)

            Do you have any idea how much a pill that cures baldness would be worth? After erectile dysfunction that's like the holy grail of the pharmaceutical industry, a drug to treat something that's incredibly common especially in middle aged men (in theory when disposable income skyrockets) that's also very embarrassing for a smaller but still large large number of younger people.

            A drug that treated hair loss in women would probably see even more sales. Women with hair loss are significantly more stigmatized t

          • by jafac (1449)

            Just develop a pill that "cures" female aversion to bald (or balding) men.

            Problem solved.

            • "Just develop a pill that "cures" female aversion to bald (or balding) men."
              That cure is money, power and confidence/perseverance. Apply separately or stirred (not shaken).

        • This is a positive result, and it could be interesting to know how this works out in the long term. This treatment may not be a permanent cure but may require periodic doses of the medicine in perpetuity. On the other hand, the man's body has clearly changed as a result of the treatment. Some of these changes may resist atrophy if the treatment is stopped. And on the third hand, it is possible that the subject may gradually develop a resistance to the treatment and require ever larger doses until safe l
    • by PsychoSlashDot (207849) on Friday June 20, 2014 @05:09PM (#47284863)

      "Scientists Accidentally Grow Full Head of Hair On Bald Man"

      To be fair, the real article title was too long...

      Scientists Accidentally Grow Full Head of Hair On Man Who Was Bald For None of The Reasons That Would Make This Discovery Interesting To A Reasonable Number of People

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      "Scientists Accidentally Grow Full Head of Hair On Bald Man"

      "The result was unintended, though interesting."

      I guess millions of bald men will complain of arthritis pain to their doctor real soon now.

      • I'm not sure it works on people without chronic alopecia. It probably has no effect on age related male pattern baldness, given its original purpose.

    • by David_Hart (1184661) on Friday June 20, 2014 @05:28PM (#47284971)

      "Scientists Accidentally Grow Full Head of Hair On Bald Man"

      The result was unintended, though interesting.

      Better title:

      Scientists treat autoimmune disease with arthritis drug, hair loss reversed

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Friday June 20, 2014 @04:45PM (#47284719) Homepage Journal

    I mean, that's obvious, but just in case anyone is too hopeful.

    • Yup. This guy has an auto-immune disorder. Pattern baldness is caused by premature death of hair follicles. Treating that would require a way to bring those cells back from the dead or some really nifty tricks with stem cells to replace them.

      Not that that's going to stop a deluge of clickbait crap about this over the next few weeks, I'm sure.

  • Maybe now I can throw away all those baseball caps that make me look silly... ;-)

  • by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Friday June 20, 2014 @04:54PM (#47284765)

    Here. [nature.com]

    (What the article doesn't explain is why a science article needs a title involving an unnecessary metaphor and a colon: "Killing Two Birds with One Stone: Oral Tofacitinib Reverses Alopecia Universalis in a Patient with Plaque Psoriasis.")

    • by Cabriel (803429)

      About the metaphor, it clarifies what the article is about. Not everyone immediately knows Alopecia Universalis is completely distinct from Plaque Psoriasis--not that most people probably even know anything about either of those.

    • I don't think the cure is particularly novel either... aren't both psoriasis and arthritis autoimmune disorders?

  • That "armpit and other hair" can be a problem.

    I might be inclined to just do without. But I could probably do without psoriasis too.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The drug costs $2055 a month for a 10 mg per day dose. It's a universal anti-lymphocite agent which basically induces a state similar to AIDS, by killing off lymphocytes and leaving the door open for serious infections or diseases, so not exactly safe either.

    • As TFA states the drug is an arthritis drug and AIDS did actually reduce the arthritis symptoms of Arthritis sufferers who acquired AIDS, was told that by my mothers Rheumatologist. Some Arthritis sufferers have immune systems so "revved up" that they're effectively immune to AIDS. drugs like tofacitinib are basically controllable immune suppression Tofacitinib is basically used for those who can't tolerate the first line immune supressor...methotrexate.

      Methotrexate is effective and because arthritis su

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by niado (1650369)

      It's a universal anti-lymphocite agent which basically induces a state similar to AIDS, by killing off lymphocytes and leaving the door open for serious infections or diseases, so not exactly safe either.

      Tofacitinib is a [wikipedia.org] JAK inhibitor [wikipedia.org], which is not exactly an anti-lymphocite agent. These drugs function by interfering with the JAK-STAT_signaling_pathway, [wikipedia.org] not by killing off lymphocytes.

      These drugs definitely are are immunosuppressive. They are generally considered safe for most patients, though they certainly increase the risk of opportunistic infections (example: tuberculosis).

  • by Tablizer (95088) on Friday June 20, 2014 @05:20PM (#47284923) Homepage Journal

    Ch' Ch' Ch' Chia

    http://info.autoworksmn.com/Po... [autoworksmn.com]

  • How can you afford NOT to be taking this drug?
  • by fozzy1015 (264592) on Friday June 20, 2014 @06:01PM (#47285203)

    Alopecia universalis is a rare autoimmune disorder, and it's understandable that a drug that works on a pathway to alleviate arthritis could also work for it. The more common male pattern baldness is caused by the sensitivity of certain hair follicles to androgens, specifically testosterone and its more active form dihydrotestosterone. It's unknown why some hair follicles respond to it by growing hair(think chest hair) and others miniaturize until the hair is nearly invisible(think hairline and top of the head).

  • No more merkin!

  • Others have said it too, but this guy isn't "bald", he has an autoimmune system that attacks his hair follicles.

    Definition of "bald": "having a scalp wholly or partly lacking hair."

    This guy lacked: eyebrows, eyelashes, facial hair, body hair, pubic hair, and all head hair.

    The treatment fixed it all, because it was autoimmune in nature.

    This is huge for the sufferers of this disease- who are very rare, and not linked to sex.

    It's worthless to the many bald men who find sometime after puberty that their head

  • Sadly this has nothing to do with male pattern baldness, but still great news for people with Alopecia.

  • yeah dudes, it totally happened like this [youtube.com].
  • by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Friday June 20, 2014 @08:08PM (#47286037) Homepage Journal
    Surprisingly enough they found that a patient suffering from a side-effect of an autoimmune disorder treated with a drug for treating an (other) autoimmune disorder was successful in reducing-aka-curing the side-effect.

    PLUS ONE for "the scientific method", MINUS ONE THOUSAND for thinking this is in ANY way "totally amazing duude!".

    BTW: you CANNOT "cure" baldness, baldness is not a disease, it's a description of a symptom.
  • So, just from the summary, this doesn't sound very impressive.

    Basically, he had several conditions that interfere with hair growth, but apparently he had fully working follicles and such.

    When they grow a full head of hair on someone who went bald "normally", then that will be impressive.

    (No, I am not one of the bald ones.)

  • Welcome to the world of man-scaping. But hey, at least you have eyebrows to waggle at the ladies now.

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