London: A pill to stop skin cancer is
on the anvil, say scientists who claim to be developing such a
drug which may stop people developing the disease by repairing
In its research, an international team, led by Ohio
State University, has found out how animals protect themselves
from the sun`s harmful rays.
And the groundbreaking discovery will now pave the way
for the creation of a drug which ends the scourge of sunburn
and protect against one of the most deadly cancers.
In fact, after 10 years of research, the researchers
have made the breakthrough in how the effects of too much sun
can be reversed.
When humans get sunburn the majority of our skin
cells can repair themselves but the damage to DNA often leads
to cells being killed off. Over time, the unrepaired area can
develop into skin cancer.
Experts have long known that humans lack a key enzyme,
which is present in insects, fish and marsupials, that appears
to repair the damage done to DNA by exposure to sun.
Now, the team has pieced together how the enzyme,
called photolyase, works to repair DNA, a key finding which
contradicts accepted theories of how key DNA molecules break
up during the repair of sunburn.
Harmful ultraviolet light causes molecular injury
to DNA and prevents it from replicating properly. But for
animals which produce photolyase, the enzyme absorbs energy
from visible light to shoot an electron into the damaged area,
say the scientists.