A recent study has shown that “sunscreen gene” might be the key factor for skin cancer. This discovery can help scientist to develop new ways of treatment and prevention such as medications.
The primary cause of skin cancer is excessive tanning or too much exposure to the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Researchers hope, that with the findings regarding the ‘sunscreen gene,’ they will be able in the future, to repair the effects of exposure to UV rays.
During the study, 340 melanoma patients were observed and after a series of laboratory experiments, the medical data analysis has led scientists to the ‘ultraviolet-resistant’ gene conclusion.
As it is already known, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. and melanoma is the deadliest type. According to lead author Chengyu Liang, their team is trying to understand how this UV-resistant gene functions.
Moreover, they want to establish what kind of factors and processes determine the cells to repair themselves after they were damaged by the UV rays. If they find out the answers to these questions, then they could develop an efficient way of treatment that will fight back the skin cancer.
American Cancer Society statistics established that 90% of melanoma cases come from UV radiation. Plus, 10,000 patients from the U.S. die every year because of this disease. According to Liang, people who have low levels of the UV-resistant gene or the mutated UV-resistant gene are more vulnerable to melanoma and other types of skin cancer, especially if they rely too much on tanning and sunbathing.
However, scientists believe that it is too early to try and come up with a drug that could influence the repair function of the UV-resistant gene in the case of UV-damaged cells. According to them, the study must continue to collect enough information for future treatment.
For the moment, researchers were only capable of determining the connection between high risk of cancer and low levels of sunscreen gene. Therefore, they haven’t found an exact answer yet regarding the link between the risk of skin cancer development and the decreased levels of UV-resistant gene
According to American Cancer Society, about 3.3 million Americans are diagnosed with squamous and basal cell skin cancer types each year whereas 76,380 Americans are diagnosed with melanoma. Hopefully, the number of skin cancer casualties will drop off in the future.
Image Source:Beach Meter