A strategy for preventing sun-induced skin cancer
Current approaches for skin cancer prevention focus on sun avoidance, protective clothing, and/or the use of sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens can reduce the numbers of p53 mutations under experimental conditions (Ananthaswamy etal, 1997). Sunscreens do reduce suppression of the cutaneous immune response but they appear to be more effective at preventing erythema than in protecting the immune responses (Bestak etal, 1995; Pathak etal, 1991; Wolf etal, 1993; Wolf and Kripke, 1996). Since sunscreens are quite effective in preventing painful sunburn, they have the potential to extend a person's time in the sun. Extended exposure time can lead to inadequate protection of the cutaneous immune response that rejects newly neoplastic cells. Thus there is a need to develop consumer-acceptable, post-sun-exposure agents that are effective at reversing UV-induced damage.
Knowledge of the mechanisms involved in UV-induced carcinogenesis has been useful in designing therapeutic agents to prevent skin cancer. For example when UV radiation damages DNA and enzymes which accelerate the removal of UV-induced lesions in DNA and prevent suppression of T cell-mediated immune responses. The use of these agents is extremely costly and may be feasible only for diseases of DNA repair (Kripke etal., 1992; Vink etal., 1996). Compounds such as green tea polyphenolics, retinoids, and ascorbic acid have been investigated for their potential use as anti-oxidant adjuncts to sunscreens (Mukhtar and Ahmad, 1999) but while preventing free radical-induced damage, these agents are ineffective once cellular damage has occurred. We have pursued the opposite approach by taking a widely accepted therapeutic agent for cutaneous injury, Aloe barbadensis gel, and elucidating its mechanism of action.
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Complete Guide to Preventing Skin Cancer. We all know enough to fear the name, just as we do the words tumor and malignant. But apart from that, most of us know very little at all about cancer, especially skin cancer in itself. If I were to ask you to tell me about skin cancer right now, what would you say? Apart from the fact that its a cancer on the skin, that is.