Harvard researchers claim that a cure for baldness is near after they discovered a protein that promotes hair growth. It is a protein known as GAS6 which stops hair loss in its tracks and aids regrowth of new hair.

baldness before and after

  • Harvard researchers have conducted vast studies on mice, and discovered the root cause for baldness which can be resolved.
  • It is believed that a specific protein is suppressed because of stress hormones and can cause damage to follicles hair loss.
  • Resupplying that protein could provide a long-term solution to the issue of hair loss and is not just for a short term solution, according to researchers.

Modern science has researchers open the possibility of assisting in reversing male pattern of baldness, or hair fall problems in general, through the replacement of a protein that is responsible for the regrowth of a hair follicle as well as new hair. It’s even more exciting that this research is conducted by a famous institution like Harvard University, an icon of innovation and science.

A head full of hair isn’t just an issue of vanity. The rapid loss of hair and the lack of control over the regrowth can cause serious psychological distress to the sufferers. Particularly if the person is young in age and looking out for job interviews or hopes to find a partner in life who will be able to see beyond their physical look.

The stress and anxiety of losing hair can put the person in a vicious cycle. Stress can cause hair loss and the resulting hair fall can cause further stress, and will increase the levels of cortisol, the hormone of stress and cause damages to follicles of hair and scalp.

However, a scientific finding could create the “comb-over” a matter of the past for those losing their hair. Harvard researchers released their findings and study in Nature magazine. The title is “Corticosterone inhibits GAS6 to govern hair follicle stem-cell quiescence”.

Research has been extensive on stress and its effects on the growth of hair follicles:

Researchers claim that a cure to baldness is near as they discovered the protein that is promoting hair growth. This protein is called GAS6 which stops hair loss in its tracks and aids regrowth of new hair. It promises a long-lasting solution to the issue of falling hair, not a just short term quick fix.

Researchers say that stress-related reactions like anger, worry and anxiety have for a long time been associated with baldness, possibly one of the main reasons why people suffering from Long Covid-19 occasionally mention hair loss as a negative effect due to the illness. Female pattern and male baldness pattern are also associated with the influence of stress hormones.

The discovery could allow researchers all over the world to develop a local-applicable cream, or lotion which stimulates the rejuvenation or regeneration of hair strands of those suffering from hair follicle damage which is a genuine cure for baldness and not an interim fix.

How do the researchers claim this?

In experiments, mice successfully developed three times as many hairs after removing surgically the adrenal glands. The tiny organs that are located above each kidney releases corticosterone, a stress hormone, the rodent’s equivalent to cortisol.

“Stress hormones suppress growth in mice through the regulation of hair follicle stem cells,” is the statement of co-author Ya-Chieh Hsu, a professor of stem cell and regenerative biology in an announcement. The study, published in Nature uncovers the mechanism which causes hair loss the first time, and also reveals the way to reverse it which could lead to a groundbreaking cure for baldness.

“Chronic and sustained exposure to stressors can profoundly affect tissue homeostasis, although the mechanisms by which these changes occur are largely unknown,” researchers explain in their paper. “The stress hormone corticosterone–which is derived from the adrenal gland and is the rodent equivalent of cortisol in humans–regulates hair follicle stem cell (HFSC) quiescence and hair growth in mice.”

Hsu has also elaborated that if corticosterone levels are high, hair follicles remain in a prolonged rest phase, and they fail to regenerate. However, when corticosterone is depleted, the hair follicle stem cells get activated, and hair growth begins to grow again.

A study has revealed that corticosterone inhibits the production of the hormone GAS6. When there is no hormone, it enhances the generation of hair follicles.

Sekyu Choi who is the principal researcher for the research has mentioned that they have initially wondered if the stress hormone was regulating stem cells directly, and then checked by removing the corticosterone receptor, however, this proved to be incorrect. Instead, they discovered that the hormone is in fact the act on a group of dermal cells beneath the hair follicle, referred to as the dermal or papilla.

What happens if the loss of hair isn’t due to stress?

Ya-Chieh Hsu, who is the Alvin and Esta Star Associate Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard and the lead researcher on the study has said that restoring the expression of GAS6 can overcome the stress-induced inhibition of the hair follicle’s stem cells and may encourage the regenerative process of hair growth. Thus this suggests that it is possible to make use of the potential of HFSCs to encourage hair-follicle regeneration through modulation of the corticosterone GAS6 Axis.

Sekyu Choi further said that in both stress and normal circumstances, adding GAS6 is enough to activate the hair follicle stem cells which were in resting mode and also to encourage hair growth. In the near future this GAS6 pathway might be exploited to stimulate stem cells in order to boost hair growth. It would also be fascinating to determine if any other tissue changes caused by stress are connected to the effect of the stress hormone on the regulation of GAS6.

Can anyone make this protein cream right now?

Not so soon. As per the Harvard website, these preliminary findings from mice have to be further investigated prior to being used safely on humans. Additionally the Harvard Office of Technology Development has secured the intellectual property related to this research and is currently exploring possibilities for collaboration in its future research and eventually commercialization.

If anyone brings this solution in the commercial marketplace it will bring relief and joy to millions of people across the globe.

Disclaimer: The suggestions and tips provided in the article are provided for general informational purposes only. They should not be taken as advice of medical professional. Always consult your doctor or a dietician prior to starting any fitness program or making any diet modifications.