Overview of AA and Research Progress: What Have We Learned and Where Are We Headed?

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During its 25th anniversary year, the National Alopecia Areata Foundation undertook a project to completely reevaluate their research program and to help focus and direct future directions of alopecia areata research to better meet the goals of people with alopecia areata (AA) and the scientists working to discover mechanisms of disease and better treatments for AA. This project was embodied in four research summits in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012, as part of the Foundation's main strategic initiative, the Alopecia Areata Treatment Development Program to accelerate progress toward a viable alopecia areata treatment. The first summit was an evaluation of the progress of AA research in a global sense, with an emphasis on how to use the research programs to bring better treatments to patients. The second summit focused on immunology and how to better understand the autoimmune nature of AA. The third summit focused on developing a clinical research network that could most effectively bring new treatments to patients. The fourth summit consolidated the considerable evidence of the mechanisms of AA, and how these mechanisms could be targeted by modern therapies, many of which were being used effectively in other autoimmune diseases. These four summits laid the foundation for the fifth summit in the series: From Targets to Treatments: Bridging Autoimmune Research to Advance Understanding of Alopecia Areata.

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