New drug for alopecia shows promise: What you need to know

By DR. MARK ABDELMALEK

Jason Lipkin lost all the hair on his body when he was 35 years old. The dad and attorney was diagnosed with a rare and extreme type of hair loss, known as alopecia universalis.

Faced with almost no hope for regrowing his hair, he took part in an early stage clinical trial using a medication that targets the immune system, which is believed to cause this kind of alopecia. Miraculously, his hair grew back, showing promising new use for the drug.

Hair loss may be common for everyone, but this type of alopecia isn’t. Here’s what you should know.

Alopecia is a blanket term for hair loss. In some cases, it occurs when the immune system attacks hair follicles.
Autoimmune alopecia is a very different kind of hair loss than the more common male-pattern baldness, which occurs when some people’s hair follicles are more sensitive to hormone levels than others.

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