Last week all the European principle investigators met in Berlin for an intense day of training before the clinical trials start for two JAK inhibitor studies being conducted by Pfizer.

It has been a long time coming! In the UK there are 5 sites in Brighton, Southampton, Glasgow, Dundee and London.

The first study we are doing has a number of different arms comparing alternative dosing regimens with loading doses (high dose for initial 4 weeks) followed by different strengths, vs steady dosing, vs placebo.

Even if selected for the placebo, there is an extension phase meaning after the first 24 weeks all patients will have access to active drug. Patients have to have 50% hair loss or more, with no evidence of spontaneous regrowth in the preceding 6 months to eligible.

At the same time as being trained for the first study, we were also trained in a longer term study over 2 years with a lower threshold for entry (25% loss or more). Patients enrolled in the first study can continue in the second study if they want to which is obviously good news for the responders who might dread having to stop the medication.

In Brighton we have now screened our first couple of patients who will be starting the treatment in the next few weeks. We are likely to be screening for the first study until February and then we hope that that the second study will be recruiting. This is a great step forward for patients suffering with alopecia who wish to pursue treatment but it is only a first step.

Another momentous occasion was also taking place in Berlin which was celebrating 30 years of the Berlin wall coming down.