Dermatology Roundup: HAIR Grant Program, AA Phase 3 Trial Results, Okoye Honored
By Allison Sit
The American Academy of Dermatology is launching a new research grant program for hair disorders research. The Hair Loss and Alopecia Initiative in Research (HAIR) Grant Program will provide grants to dermatologists, researchers and trainees for the completion of research projects that address gaps in hair disorders research. The program has a particular emphasis on funding research on hair disorders in diverse populations.
The program will offer grants of $200,000 for research on central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA) as well as additional smaller grants for research on CCCA and other hair disorders, racial differences or disparities in care, the role of nutrition in hair loss and environmental or genetic factors in hair loss. Applications for the one-time program open May 14.
Eli Lily and Company and Incyte announced results of a phase 3 trial of baricitinib for adults with severe alopecia areata (AA). Top-line results show a statistically significant improvement in scalp hair regrowth in those who received once-daily baricitinib 2 mg or 4 mg compared to those who received the placebo. According to the news release, baricitinib is the first JAK-inhibitor to demonstrate hair regrowth in a phase 3 AA trial.
Baricitinib has received Breakthrough Therapy designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of AA. It is currently approved in the U.S. as a treatment for adults with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. There are currently no FDA-approved treatments for AA.
Dermatologist Ginette Okoye, MD, was recently named a “Patient Care Hero” by the American Academy of Dermatology for establishing a COVID-19 testing site in a historically underserved neighborhood in northeast Washington, D.C. Dr. Okoye mobilized clinical staff and dermatology residents to establish the testing site while the Howard University dermatology clinic she oversees was temporarily closed during the April 2020 stay-at-home order. According to the news release, at its peak, the testing site was open four days a week and averaged more than 100 tests a day. Dr. Okoye’s team also opened up a second testing location at a nearby church as well as an employee testing program at Howard University.
“When COVID-19 first hit Washington, D.C., I couldn’t sit back and watch the community suffer,” Dr. Okoye said in the release. “Knowing that Black and brown communities were heavily impacted by the virus, we jumped into action to make sure D.C.’s most vulnerable residents had access to testing options.”