DEC 31, 2018 9:00 AM PST

Could increasing melanin in the skin protect against melanoma?

WRITTEN BY: Heba El Wassef

Our skin color is determined by the amount and kind of a specific pigment in our skin called melanin which is produced by cells in our epidermis called melanocytes. Melanin does not only help in determining our skin color, but it also protects against the UV rays from sunlight which could lead to skin damage and cancer. Scientists are exploring ways to increase melanin in the skin to protect against melanoma which is the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

Inside melanocytes, there are the melanin-producing factories “melanosomes.”, Melanosomes produce two types of melanin; Eumelanin “ dark-color pigment” and pheomelanin “light-color pigment.” Eumelanin blocks the UV rays from damaging the skin, so individuals who have less eumelanin or light-skinned people are exposed to more sun damage and people with more eumelanin have more protection.

The type of melanin and its amount in every individual’s skin cells depend on their genetic makeup. Scientists are trying to artificially induce melanosomes to produce more eumelanin, therefore increasing photoprotection.

Watch the video below for more details on how this is possible and how far the scientists have reached in this research.

Sources: Youtube, Sciencemag, NCBI, ResearchGate

About the Author
  • A master student in Biochemistry and Molecular biology with experience in Education and Research. I am passionate about scientific research and passing my knowledge to others to help them learn about the latest in science by teaching, writing and volunteering in scientific events.
You May Also Like
AUG 01, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Rethinking the Cause of Mutations That Lead to Melanoma
AUG 01, 2021
Rethinking the Cause of Mutations That Lead to Melanoma
Throughout our lives, new cells often replace the ones that become damaged or worn out. As cells divide, they have to re ...
AUG 13, 2021
Cancer
Ultrasound Triggers Immunotherapy to Destroy Tumors
AUG 13, 2021
Ultrasound Triggers Immunotherapy to Destroy Tumors
An immunotherapy engineered to be triggered by ultrasound beams significantly slows the growth of cancerous tumors in mi ...
AUG 25, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Self-Assembling Molecules: A Potential "One-Size-Fits-All" Cancer Therapy
AUG 25, 2021
Self-Assembling Molecules: A Potential "One-Size-Fits-All" Cancer Therapy
A new study from the University of Huddersfield shows promising breakthroughs on the use of self-assembling molecules as ...
SEP 21, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Lifesaving TheraSpheres - glass microbeads can target and destroy colorectal tumors
SEP 21, 2021
Lifesaving TheraSpheres - glass microbeads can target and destroy colorectal tumors
The innovative medical device manufacturer Boston Scientific recently showed success in treating patients with ...
OCT 14, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Weighing Cancer Cells Helps Predict Treatment Outcomes
OCT 14, 2021
Weighing Cancer Cells Helps Predict Treatment Outcomes
Not all cancer patients respond to oncology treatments in the same way. Some might show signs of improvement as the ther ...
NOV 18, 2021
Immunology
Ultrasound Helps Shuttle Cancer-Killing Antibodies to the Brain
NOV 18, 2021
Ultrasound Helps Shuttle Cancer-Killing Antibodies to the Brain
Antibody therapies harness the immune system's power to fight a broad spectrum of diseases, from cancer to infectiou ...
Loading Comments...