Tags: new technique | shrinks | skin cancer | turn on gene

New Technique Shrinks Skin Cancers

Tuesday, 19 Jan 2010 08:34 AM


Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, and even though most are highly curable, they may require painful, scarring surgery. A new study by Loyola University Health System could pave the way to developing drugs that would shrink skin cancer tumors. According to senior author Mitchell Denning, PhD., the drugs would turn on a gene that prevents skin cells from becoming cancerous.

The researchers examined a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma, which is usually found on areas of the body that receive a lot of sun, such as the face, ears, neck, lips, and backs of hands. The cancers can be removed by simply cutting them out, curettage and electrodessication (scraping and treating with an electric needle), and cryosurgery (freezing with liquid nitrogen). Large skin cancers require disfiguring skin grafts.

Sunlight damages the DNA of skin cells, and under normal circumstances, a protein called protein kinase C (PKC) is activated to repair the damage. If the damage is extensive, it signals the cell to die. But in squamous cell skin cancer, the PKC gene is turned off and the damaged cell continues to multiply. Protein kinase inhibitor drugs, which turn the gene back on, have been approved by the FDA to treat other cancers, and Denning wants to test PKC-inhibiting drugs on animals.

In the meantime, the American Cancer Society offers the following tips to prevent skin cancer:

• Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

• Choose protective clothing made of tightly woven fabrics that can't been seen through when held up to a light.

• Use sunscreen and lip balm with a SPF of 15 or higher

• Wear wide-brimmed hats that shade your face, ears, and neck.

• Choose sunglasses with 99 percent to 100 percent UV absorption.

• Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps.



© HealthDay

   
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Tuesday, 19 Jan 2010 08:34 AM
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