Mount Sinai Awarded $6.6 Million from Nationa

More than 6.6 million people in the US are affected by alopecia areata, a disease that causes hair to fall out of the scalp and beard, usually before the age of 20.

There's currently no treatment for it, and researchers at Mount Sinai Health System have just been awarded a $6.6 million, five-year National Institutes of Health grant to try to figure out a way to treat it.

"Alopecia areata causes tremendous psychosocial distress and greatly affects the patient's quality of life as well as negatively impacting the entire family," Dr. Emma Guttman-Yassky says in a press release.

"This is particularly impactful in children, as they do not yet have the coping mechanisms adults may have."

Alopecia areata is more prevalent in children than adults, and Guttman-Yassky plans to lead a controlled trial of 76 children ages 6 to 17 with alopecia affecting at least 50% of the scalp.

Participants will be given dupilumab, an antibody that has been shown to be effective in treating atopic dermatitis ( eczema) and asthma.

"Current treatment options for alopecia areata harbor negative side effects for long-term use," says Guttman-Yassky.

"In addition, the moment you stop using the treatment

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