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Nuria Puigmal, PhD


Job Title

Postdoc Fellow

Academic Rank

Fellow or Postdoc




Nuria Puigmal, Nour Younis*, Diane Cruz, Andrea Daccache, Anis Saad, Triana Huerta, Ahmad Halawi, Christa Deban, Dongliang Zhang, Jamil R. Azzi, Natalie Artzi

Principal Investigator

Jamil Azzi; Natalie Artzi



Microneedle-mediated Delivery of Immunomodulators Restores Immune Privilege in Hair Follicles and Reverses Alopecia Areata

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Scientific Abstract

Alopecia Areata (AA) is an autoimmune dermatologic disorder manifesting with hair loss and originated by auto-reactive T cells disrupting the hair follicle (HA) immune privilege. Restoring the number and function of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in diseased skin has received increasing attention as Tregs can promote immune homeostasis and prevent autoimmunity. We present the use of a microneedle (MN) platform for local release of immunomodulators into the AA lesions to promote local Treg expansion and counterbalance the T-cell mediated autoimmunity driving the disease’s pathogenesis. MN-mediated delivery of CCL22 (for Treg recruitment) and IL-2 (for Treg proliferation) remodeled the immune profile at the hair follicle level, increasing Treg frequencies and reversing AA symptoms as targeted, sustained hair regrowth was observed in AA lesions, opening up a new therapeutic avenue in the AA treatment landscape.

Lay Abstract

Alopecia Areata (AA) is a skin condition where patients experience hair loss due to a dysregulation in their immune system. The immune system’s own cells attack the hair follicles, the roots of the hair, damaging them and causing hair loss. Our group is proposing a new way to treat this condition by using a special medical device containing tiny, microscopic needles, a microneedle platform. This microneedle platform, resembling a BandAid, can be self-administered and releases helpful substances directly into the areas where hair loss is happening in a painless way. These substances can help to bring back a balance in the immune system and encourage the growth of hair. By using this approach, we have found that the hair can grow back in the affected areas while avoiding side effects, offering patients a safer alternative which we hope will be also useful for the treatment of similar diseases such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.

Clinical Implications

We are challenging the therapeutic paradigm by which autoimmune skin diseases are treated by using an immunomodulatory (instead of immunosuppressive) microneedle platform that is patient friendly, can be self-administered and obviate systemic side effects