New lotion repairs sun damaged skin

Scientists in the U.S. have developed a lotion which repairs sun damaged skin.

The lotion which contains a protein which mends DNA damaged by the sun is presently undergoing clinical trials.

Manufacturers AGI Dermatics say tests so far have shown the cream cuts skin cancer rates when used daily for a year on people who were susceptible to the disease.

According to experts skin cancer kills more than 2,000 people a year in the UK, and they are concerned it may encourage people to spend longer in the sun.

AGI Dermatics have stressed the cream is not an alternative to sunscreen.

Apparently oil sacs in the lotion allow a protein called T4 endonuclease to penetrate the skin cells, and once it is inside a cell's nucleus, the protein removes damaged areas of DNA and starts a repair process that the body completes.

Researchers at the American Chemical Society's annual conference, said the lotion and the protein, enter cells within an hour of application and produce measurable results within six hours.

The lotion was apparently tested on 30 people with a rare genetic disease, xeroderma pigmentosum, that made them more susceptible to skin cancer.

It seems that a daily application of the lotion resulted in a third fewer skin cancers and two thirds fewer pre-cancer lesions than in those who did not use it.

Lead researcher Daniel Yarosh said the cream had the potential to be used widespread in the fight to protect skin against the sun, and is the first DNA repair drug.

However Dr Mark Matfield, scientific consultant at the Association for International Cancer Research, says that while the cream has potential, the causes of skin cancer were complicated and not fully understood and the treatment is unlikely to be the answer for all forms of the disease.

He is concerned it could lead to a laissez-faire attitude to sun care.

He says rather than repair sun damage, it is better to prevent it in the first place.

Other experts support this viewpoint and also stress the importance of sensible protection from sun damage.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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