New real sun-tan drug may help prevent cancer

New real sun-tan drug may help prevent cancer

While describing the finding thoroughly, Professor David Fisher, the lead researcher from Massachusetts General Hospital said: "Under the microscope, it's the real melanin, it really is activating the production of pigment in a UV-independent fashion".

The drug, when applied to the skin in the form of gentle rubbing, works in the format of a wide chain of chemical reactions and ultimately creates a layer of the pigment melanin. "It would just be sunless".

"Human skin is a very good barrier and is a formidable penetration challenge".

That was a pretty big deal, because when your red-headed friend complains about going from pale to a straight-up burn when they hit the beach - with no tan in between - they're not just overreacting.

A method that gives mice a tan without using ultraviolet radiation now works in human skin samples.

"We are excited about the possibility of inducing dark pigment production in human skin without a need for either systemic exposure to a drug or UV exposure to the skin", said Fisher.

For years, Fisher and his team have been studying how UV radiation triggers the production of melanin.

"We believe the potential importance of this work is towards a novel strategy for skin cancer prevention", Fisher says.

But there was one problem. If the compound proves safe for human use, it would provide tanners an alternative to the illicitly used synthetic hormone called melanotan, which has been associated with skin cancer.

Now, a decade later, the researchers have come up with a solution that they think will actually work on us - a different class of compounds that cannot only boost the pigmentation process, but also squeeze through the outer layers of our epidermis. Their study, reported in the June 13 issue of Cell Reports, is a follow-up to a 2006 study that identified the molecular pathways underlying the tanning response and induced tanning in a strain of mouse that normally does not produce the protective, dark form of melanin.

Red-furred mice in the study turned nearly black with a big enough dose of the drug, International Business Times reported. This artificial tan lasted several days. On the left, it has been treated with a control or the substance less able to penetrate human skin and shows no change.

Scientists have come up with a drug that could help people tan without exposure to the sun.

But if it lives up to its promise, this compound would do more than just bankrupt the fake tan industry - when used in conjunction with sunscreen, it could help cut the rate of skin cancer, which is now the most common cancer in the United States, affecting one in five Americans over their lifetime. Melanin is known to provide some UV protection, although the team didn't test this on the redhead mice in this study. "We could see that the skin starts to turn dark".

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