Scientists Trick Skin Cells Into Fending Off UV Damage
Mouse study shows cells can trigger natural defense to DNA damage
MONDAY, March 1, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Boston University School of Medicine scientists say they've discovered a way to "trick" skin cells into protecting themselves from DNA damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) light.
In research with mice, the researchers showed skin cells can be made to believe they've suffered DNA damage. That triggers natural defense mechanism against further DNA damage, thereby reducing cancer caused by subsequent UV light exposure.
The findings appear in the March 1 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The scientists topically applied a DNA fragment called thymidine dinucleotide (pTT) to hairless mice over several months and exposed the mice to UV light. The proportion of mice treated with pTT that developed tumors was reduced more than sixfold compared to other mice that were also exposed to UV but did not receive pTT.
The study also found tumor development was greatly delayed in the mice that received pTT.
The findings suggest it may be possible to use such DNA fragments to develop a skin product that will help people reduce their risk of skin cancer.
The American Cancer Society has more about skin cancer.