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BOOMER/SENIOR ALERT: NEW ADVANCES IN COMBATING SKIN CANCER

Posted by: Laurence Harmon on 7/31/2008

"As you age, this upper layer of the skin gets very thin and flattened," Elaine Jacobson, Ph.D., (pictured at left), a biochemist at the University of Arizona and Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson, explained to Ivanhoe. "Now you've lost your protection that normally keeps the sun from penetrating deep into the skin."

Researchers at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, researchers developed a new drug aimed at preventing the most common nonmelanoma skin cancer -- actinic keratosis. The drug, from the vitamin niacin, is called myristyl nicotinate. It works with receptors in the upper layers of the skin to give it greater protection from dangerous UV rays.

"The amount of ultraviolet light you can be exposed to before you get a sunburn is increased 10 to 20 percent," Dr. Jacobson said.

The drug comes in the form of a skin cream. In two preliminary clinical trials, researchers say it proved safe and effective, strengthening the skin's barrier against sunlight.  "In a sense, myristyl nicotinate is giving you a biological SPF," Dr. Jacobson said.

Dr. Jacobson says the drug is not designed to take the place of sunscreen. A national FDA supervised clinical trial is next to see if the drug can prevent skin cancers in people who have already had the disease.

 

Contact Dr. Jacobson at jacobse@pharmacy.arizona.edu 

http://www.arizonacancercenter.org; http://www.pharmacy.arizona.edu/faculty/ejacobsonlab/ejacobsonlab.html


 

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