Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sunscreen? There's a Gene for That

In a research article published in the journal Cancer Cell, researchers discovered a gene that may protect us from a form of skin cancer called squamous cell cancer (SCC). Grhl3 is a gene that signals "Stop!" to cell proliferation.  It was not unusual when scientists discovered that the Grhl3 gene is virtually absent in the presence of SCC. Stephen Jane et al. demonstrated that eliminating the Grhl3 gene in lab mice diminishes the signal to stop malignant growth ultimately forming tumors. This research is significant in the bio-medical field for preventative and rehabilitative medicine.  There are drugs already in clinical trials to help prevent and treat SCC.  Eventually we may see a topical sunscreen available with a drug that increases the activation of the expression on the Grhl3 gene in extreme UV index conditions.

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