Some of the greatest discoveries in science have been total accidents — Alexander Fleming's use of penicillin, Wilson and Penzias' discovery of the cosmic microwave background, etc. Today, scientists announced they've once again unintentionally made a monumental discovery: A cure for baldness. OK, only in mice.
Still, the finding — involving a chemical compound that blocks a stress hormone — could lead to human hair loss treatments, the scientists say. The researchers have applied for a patent on the use of the compound for hair growth.
"This could open new venues to treat hair loss in humans through the modulation of the stress hormone receptors, particularly hair loss related to chronic stress and aging," said Million Mulugeta, an adjunct professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
The researchers were testing the relationship between stress and the gastrointestinal tract, and after leaving the mice alone for a couple months, they found that their hair had grown back. The researchers couldn't tell them apart from their unstressed, hirsute brethren.
The research involved teams from UCLA, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and the Oregon Health and Sciences University. The researchers were using mice that have been genetically engineered to produce an excess of a stress hormone called corticotrophin-releasing factor, or CRF. As they age, the super-stressed mice lose hair and eventually become bald on their backs.
Researchers at the Salk Institute developed a peptide called "astressin-B", which blocks the action of CRF, and the teams injected the peptide into the bald mice. They weren't thinking about baldness at all — they wanted to test whether the astressin had any impact on the mice's gastrointestinal tracts. The first injection did nothing, so the team gave the mice additional injections over five days, and then measured the effects on the newly de-stressed mice's colons.
About three months later, the researchers came back to do some follow-up GI tests, but they couldn't find their test mice. They had to check the creatures' ID numbers to make sure the hairy results were real. Follow-up studies proved it without a doubt, according to a UCLA news release.
Most surprisingly, just one dose a day for five days maintained the hair-growing effect for up to four months. In the two-year lifespan of a mouse, that's an incredibly long time, suggesting a minimal dose packs a powerful punch.
Researchers know that CRF is found in human skin, along with other peptides that modulate it, so it is possible this treatment will work in humans.
The discovery is described in an article published in the online journal PLoS One.
I don't think I'll spend money to fix my bald rat.
I don't believe that patents ought to be held for medical or by publicly owned schools either. I doubt I'd get a rebate on my taxes for each bottle sold.
I was always under the impression that baldness in humans was caused by overactive dihydrotestosterone - a waste product of testosterone and when testosterone is too high in older women they too become bald. I am not a stressed out person and I have male-pattern baldness that occurred after my 45th birthday. Don't the scientists think they should try their formula on humans before they start claiming they think they have a cure for baldness in humans?
I predict humans who try this will just end up with hairy backs. LOL!
ROFL "astressin-b" They scraped the bottom of the barrel to come up with that one LOL. I'm a-stressin out!
So here is a question. I just read recently that men in their mid 20's who experience balding are more likely to develop prostate cancer. So if elevated stress hormones are the catalyst for baldness then by proxy is it possible that Prostate Cancer is caused by elevated stress hormones?
Don't take life to seriously! You'll never get out of it alive.
Enough with all the research on hair loss!
How bout some that help me so that I dont have to shave a full beard every 10 min?
err....edit: How about some [research] that helps me, so that I dont have to shave a full beard every 10 min?
@JamesDavis Apparently they already are and it works too well according to some.(more hair then they would like in the growen area)
I wander when this will be made for public use. Hopefully before I loose all my hair. :(
I'm looking forward to getting the hair on my head back,I can handle all of the rest of the places it went!
so.. what happens if they inject a naked mole rat?? mehh probably just explode.
Haa.. mole rats are flippin gross. I'm sure there are many causes for baldness it might not be for everyone but heading the right direction, awesome
I am 49 years old. I lost my hair when I was 19. I have been hearing discussion and reading comments from the medical community for 30 years that we are about 2-3 years away from a cure to baldness. While working on the West coast in 2004, the medical director of the practice I worked for was being told by biotech companies cloning is just about ready to enter clinical trials. This was 7 years ago! A colleague I work with just told me a few days ago he heard we are close to cloning hair. And guess how long until it will be approved? You guessed it! 2 - 3 years! I have been hearing this in one form or another all my life! I believe there have been attempts and I believe there is some vc money out there chasing the cure. However, please let me say this.....If you have hair loss and are suffering from it, do not sit around and wait for a cure! Be proactive! I can help you. I have been battling hair loss for 30 years and winning! My name is Steve. I offer free advice.