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Alopecia Areata Research Summits

The National Alopecia Areata Foundation conducts research summits every two years to review progress and create new directions in its funded and promoted research. The Foundation brings together scientists from all disciplines to get a broad and varied perspective. These alopecia areata research summits are part of the Foundation’s main strategic initiative, the Alopecia Areata Treatment Development Program, to enhance the understanding of alopecia areata and accelerate progress toward a viable treatment. 


A New Era in Alopecia Areata Research: 2016 Alopecia Areata Research Summit Highlights

November 14-15, 2016 · New York City · New York · USA

The sixth Alopecia Areata Research Summit since 2008, Building & Crossing the Translational Bridge, brought together leading experts from a host of fields and organizations to discuss current research progress and identify new opportunities to move effective therapeutics for alopecia areata from discovery to market. The excitement about the numerous alopecia areata therapies in development and future clinical trials was palpable. The 120 Summit participants who gathered November 14 and 15, 2016 in New York City included almost equal representation from expert alopecia areata researchers (26), young investigators with an interest in alopecia areata (26), experts in related fields (24), and biopharmaceutical industry representatives (24). We also benefited from participation by nine patient stakeholders and eight representatives from governmental and other organizations, including three Institutes within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), Advancing Innovations in Dermatology (AID), and the National Health Council (NHC). All told, more than 40 academic institutions and research centers from the United States and eight countries across the globe were represented.

Our three exceptional co-chairs, Drs. Angela Christiano, John Harris, and Maria Hordinsky, worked together to develop a dynamic program focused on: 1) the current state of alopecia areata research; 2) clinical trials, epidemiology and assessment tools; 2) emerging research technologies and therapeutic targets; 3) autoimmune and immunological aspects of alopecia areata and related conditions; 4) genetics and the hair follicle microenvironment; and 5) advancing treatments to patient care.


>>Download the Complete 2016 Summit Summary

Preceding Alopecia Areata Research Summits

From Targets to Treatments: Bridging Autoimmune Research to Advance Understanding of Alopecia Areata
December 4-5, 2014
Hyatt Regency Bethesda
Bethesda, Maryland

Significant research progress occurred in 2014, offering new leads that are driving current research efforts related to alopecia areata. The fifth Alopecia Areata Research Summit, From Targets to Treatments: Bridging Autoimmune Research to Advance Understanding of Alopecia Areata, brought together leading experts with new investigative partners to discuss exciting new discoveries and identify opportunities to further advance alopecia areata research. This meeting, held December 4 to 5 in Bethesda, Maryland, represented a pivotal moment for alopecia areata research and treatment development with early stage clinical trials of drugs targeting auroimmune pathways showing promising hair regrowth for the first time ever. Among the 90 participants were representatives from five different branches of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), and several biopharmaceutical companies with relevant clinical initiatives, as well as experts in the fields of hair and skin disease research, clinical care, basic science, immunology, and autoimmunity from more than 35 academic institutions and research centers across the globe, and representatives of the patient community that any potential treatment would be designed to serve.

Our three outstanding co-chairs, Drs. David Norris, Julian Mackay-Wiggan, and Jeff Frelinger, worked together to develop a packed program focused on 1) autoimmune and immunological aspects of alopecia areata; 2) recent genetic developments and new therapeutic targets; 3) emerging animal models; 4) new research technologies and directions; and 5) clinical aspects, epidemiology and tools to advance research.

Click here to read the complete 2014 Research Summit Summary. 

Click here to view publication of the 2014 Research Summit in the prestigious Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings (JIDSP). 

From Basepairs to Bedside: Innovations in the Immunology and Clinical Science of Alopecia Areata
November 29-30, 2012
Hilton Garden Inn
Bethesda, Maryland

The 2012 Research Summit titled From Basepairs to Bedside: Innovations in the Immunology and Clinical Science of Alopecia Areata was held in Bethesda, Maryland, November 29-30, 2012.  It was convened to review recent progress in understanding the pathogenesis of alopecia areata and to chart the course for the future of translational research. It brought together an exciting group of scientists, immunologists, geneticists, veterinary scientists, medical experts, translational scientists, clinical dermatologists, and representatives of government agencies to discuss innate and acquired immunity, associated autoimmune diseases, their common immune pathways, and targeted immunological therapies.

Click here to read the complete 2012 Research Summit Summary.

Clinical Research Summit
October 23, 2010
Columbia University
New York, New York

The Clinical Research Summit on the Immunology of Alopecia Areata met at Columbia University in New York City on October 22, 2010. The purpose of this summit was to discuss the need for new treatments in alopecia areata patients, to discuss new scientific and translational opportunities that point to new therapies, and to discuss new strategies to bring these treatments to patients. A major priority at this summit was to explore alternative avenues to new therapies, using drugs already used in other autoimmune diseases. The attendees at the summit provided a preliminary list of drugs: targretin with steroid, hedgehog drug (sonic hedgehog analog) to “jumpstart” anagen, Anakira (IL-1 pathway inhibitor), stat 4 inhibitor, FK506 with vehicle from Transderm, anti -interferon gamma antibody, drugs that target NGF or Substance P peptide or receptor inhibitor, aMSH or MC1R inhibitors (pigmented hair follicles are targets in alopecia areata).

Click here to read the complete 2010 Research Summit Summary.

Immunology of Alopecia Areata
August 21, 2009
Denver Airport Marriott at Gateway Park
Aurora, Colorado 

This research summit was held in Denver, Colorado on August 21, 2009.  The purpose was to evaluate the state of immunology research in alopecia areata and to identify those areas of immunology research that should be supported by NAAF. To accomplish this, NAAF convened major alopecia areata researchers working in genetics, immunology, neurobiology and clinical research.  NAAF also invited a diverse group of immunologists working in T cell biology, allergy, tolerance, autoimmunity, and translational research in autoimmunity.

Click here to read the complete 2009 Research Summit Summary.

Comprehensive Alopecia Areata Research Summit
July 11 – 12, 2008 
Hyatt Regency Bethesda 
Bethesda, Maryland 

The first NAAF research summit convened in Bethesda, Maryland on July 11, 2008. The 44 participants were selected to include experts in the fields of genetics, immunology, patient registries, autoimmunity, animal models, drug development, plus NAAF staff and donors, and NIAMS program staff.  A wide-ranging program covered many topics: genetics, effective use of registry data, autoimmunity and immunology, hair follicle stem cells and signaling, neuroscience, animal models, drug development and paths to drug discovery. It was clear that genetic research in alopecia areata had emerged as the poster child of a successful NAAF initiative dependent on the Alopecia Areata Registry, Biobank and Clinical Trials Network (Registry). Other areas of research clearly needed further support and an organized approach to development.  

Click here to read the complete 2008 Reseach Summit Summary.