New light-activated suncream will cut skin cancer

August 22, 2013
New light-activated suncream will cut skin cancer
A new suncream ingredient developed by researchers at Bath could soon play an important role in reducing skin cancer rates from sun damage.

With a Bank Holiday weekend around the corner and the expected return of sunny weather, families around Britain are hoping not to put the suncream away just yet.

However, while many suncreams provide good protection against the 's UVB rays, the chief cause of skin reddening and , they provide less protection against more prevalent UVA rays. Scientists believe this may be one of the reasons why incidence rates are increasing worldwide.

Now researchers in our Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology have created an innovative ingredient which when applied in a suncream can act as a UVA filter and provide fuller protection against .

In the UK, over 100,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year, of which 10,000 are malignant melanoma – the deadliest form of the disease and also the fifth most common cancer in the UK.

Scientists here at Bath have previously shown that when exposed to the UVA component of sunlight, the skin releases iron and produces free radicals. Free radicals are harmful species that damage the skin cells by interacting with fat, protein and DNA of the cells. The release of free iron promotes the formation of additional, harmful free radicals that increase the damage caused and has been shown to play a key role in skin ageing and the onset of skin cancer.

The new compounds are light activated when exposed to relevant doses of UVA, and unique in how they release anti-oxidants to neutralise free radicals whilst at the same time capturing excess iron in the skin.

The video will load shortly.

Dr Charareh Pourzand, Researcher in Pharmacy & Pharmacology said: "Antioxidants have already been used as a means to counteract the skin damage caused by UVA. However these agents are not effective, since the simultaneous release of iron in the cells continues to generate more harmful . The use of 'naked' iron chelators for skin protection is also not adequate, since such agents would starve the cells from the iron that is necessary.

"The molecules we have developed respond to sunlight and provide a safe solution to this problem. The potential medical impact of this project is significant as the caged-iron chelators could provide a highly effective means of protection against UVA- and UVB-induced skin damage and associated skin cancer."

Medicinal chemist Dr Ian Eggleston added: "The new compounds that we are synthesising provide a highly effective means of protection against both UVA- and UVB-induced skin damage and associated skin cancer, without inducing toxicity in cells. These compounds will be applied as a 'pro-drug' to the skin as part of a suncream, and then activated at the right time and in the right place by UVA."

At the beginning of the year this work benefited from a grant provided by Garnier and the British Skin Foundation.

Hermione Lawson, from the British Skin Foundation, commented: "We are very excited to play a part in this pioneering research that could lead to a new generation of sunscreens. It is essential this kind of scientific research continues to be funded so that we can further our understanding of the complex relationship between UV rays and the development of cancer. We look forward to the continued findings of Drs Pourzand and Eggleston and their team."

Explore further: Silibinin, found in milk thistle, protects against UV-induced skin cancer

Related Stories

Silibinin, found in milk thistle, protects against UV-induced skin cancer

January 30, 2013
A pair of University of Colorado Cancer Center studies published this month show that the milk thistle extract, silibinin, kills skin cells mutated by UVA radiation and protects against damage by UVB radiation – thus protecting ...

Study reveals novel mechanism by which UVA contributes to photoaging of skin

April 25, 2013
A study conducted by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) provides new evidence that longwave ultraviolet light (UVA) induces a protein that could result in premature skin aging. The findings demonstrate ...

Skin cancer death rates 70 percent higher in men

August 21, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—According to research conducted by Cancer Research UK and the University of Leeds, 3.4 men per 100,000 die from malignant melanoma each year in the UK, compared with 2.0 women. But incidence rates are similar ...

Screening the sun: We still need to cover up, researchers say

November 20, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—Covering up and staying out of the sun for prolonged periods of time, especially in the middle of the day, is still the best way to protect ourselves from damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation, claims a University ...

Human skin begins tanning in seconds, and here's how

November 3, 2011
We all know that human skin tans after days spent in the sun. That relatively slow process has known links to ultraviolet (and specifically UVB) exposure, which leads to tanning only after it damages the DNA of skin cells. ...

Recommended for you

Comparison of screening recommendations indicates annual mammography

August 21, 2017
When to initiate screening for breast cancer, how often to screen, and how long to screen are questions that continue to spark emotional debates. A new study compares the number of deaths that might be prevented as a result ...

Vitamin C may encourage blood cancer stem cells to die

August 17, 2017
Vitamin C may "tell" faulty stem cells in the bone marrow to mature and die normally, instead of multiplying to cause blood cancers. This is the finding of a study led by researchers from Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone ...

Outdoor light at night linked with increased breast cancer risk in women

August 17, 2017
Women who live in areas with higher levels of outdoor light at night may be at higher risk for breast cancer than those living in areas with lower levels, according to a large long-term study from Harvard T.H. Chan School ...

Scientists develop novel immunotherapy technology for prostate cancer

August 17, 2017
A study led by scientists at The Wistar Institute describes a novel immunotherapeutic strategy for the treatment of cancer based on the use of synthetic DNA to directly encode protective antibodies against a cancer specific ...

Scientists develop blood test that spots tumor-derived DNA in people with early-stage cancers

August 16, 2017
In a bid to detect cancers early and in a noninvasive way, scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center report they have developed a test that spots tiny amounts of cancer-specific DNA in blood and have used it to ...

Toxic formaldehyde is produced inside our own cells, scientists discover

August 16, 2017
New research has revealed that some of the toxin formaldehyde in our bodies does not come from our environment - it is a by-product of an essential reaction inside our own cells. This could provide new targets for developing ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.