A research group from the University of Cincinnati has been awarded $1 million from the National Cancer Institute to develop a new topical treatment to prevent skin cancer. The new topical cream will be based on a chemically modified hormone called alpha-melanocytelinks stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH), which will induce skin pigmentation, and thus be effective in blocking as well as repairing damages due to UV rays.
. “If this new prevention strategy works, it could ultimately reduce the ever-increasing incidence of skin cancer. It would especially benefit people with known high risk for skin cancer in general, especially those with fair skin, and might ultimately reduce the incidence of melanoma and prevent its recurrence in highly susceptible individuals.”
Previous studies have demonstrated that alpha-MSH can repair UV damage to the skin. current research also involves modifying the peptide of 13 amino acids to a chain of only four amino acids, or shorter, to make it more effective in penetrating the skin and reach the melanocytes, where pigment is produced.