Pill may prove a cure for alopecia baldness
A pill that appears to cure alopecia baldness has fully restored the hair of three patients.
Doctors conducted the pilot trial after identifying the immune cells responsible for destroying hair follicles in people with the condition.
Within four or five months of being put on the drug, ruxolitinib, all three patients experienced complete hair growth.
US lead researcher Dr Raphael Clynes, from Columbia University Medical Center in New York, said: "We've only begun testing the drug in patients, but if the drug continues to be successful and safe, it will have a dramatic positive impact on the lives of people with this disease."
However, more research is needed before the drug can safely be used as a baldness treatment.
Alopecia is a common autoimmune disease that leads to partial or total hair loss. One of its best known sufferers is former model and TV presenter Gail Porter, who refused to wear a wig to hide her baldness.
There is no connection between alopecia and male pattern baldness that affects 6.5 million men in the UK and is hormone-driven.