Health Care

New drug that creates 'real sun tan' could reduce cancer risk

New drug that creates 'real sun tan' could reduce cancer risk

When skin is exposed to sunlight, UV radiation sets off a series of chemical reactions that leads the production of melanin, which darkens the skin and provides a protective effect against the sun's damaging rays.

The team still needs to conduct safety studies, which Fisher said are always essential with new treatment compounds, so that they can better understand the acting agents. Along with reducing the risk of cancer, it could also give a golden glow to your skin.

But scientists quickly discovered that this molecule could not penetrate human skin.

This time, researchers developed new molecules that get the tanning protein ever deeper into the epidermis and voila, the skin appeared darker after eight days of daily, topical administration.

Scientists in the U.S. have found a new drug that can create real skin tan which in turn reduces the risk of cancer.

According to researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in the USA, the finding could prevent skin cancer and even slow the ageing process.

Fisher is focused on developing a product that will protect against skin cancers. "What I think could be done is to use sunscreen that has been supplemented by something to darken the skin".

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. One of their compounds made a brown splotch, indicating that it was able to reach the melanocytes in the skin and spur melanin production, the team reports today in Cell Reports.

Applied as a cream to the skin, the drug allowed red-haired mice to develop a deep tan.

But when the researchers tried to replicate the tan on human skin, it didn't work - most likely because human skin is five times thicker than that of mice, researchers said - so they tried again. This takes a while, so the tan lasts a week or so, just like a sun-induced tan.

"We've got several compounds that we can apply right onto human skin that was kept alive artificially in a petri dish", Fisher says.

We can't wait to see where this research goes next. Even people who have naturally modestly tan skin have far more protection than those without any tan at all. Next, scientists will learn if the new compound is safe for humans.

"The dream strategy would be to combine both", Fisher added.

"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.

"This is not mean to replace sunscreen, but rather is an additional component", he says.

"Sunscreen is extremely important; there definitely is protection, but [its] efficacy in melanoma and basal cell carcinoma is surprisingly and frustratingly incomplete", Fisher told The Guardian.

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