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
MAY 26, 2020
Cancer
Does having a child with cancer increase parents' risk of divorce?
MAY 26, 2020
Does having a child with cancer increase parents' risk of divorce?
A study from Denmark published in the American Cancer Society journal CANCER reports that having a child with cancer doe ...
JUN 06, 2020
Immunology
Cancer Cell Clusters Better At Resisting the Immune System
JUN 06, 2020
Cancer Cell Clusters Better At Resisting the Immune System
For cancerous cells in the body, it seems there is safety in numbers. Researchers from a newly published study investiga ...
JUN 09, 2020
Cancer
Genetic counseling for prostate cancer testing goes telehealth
JUN 09, 2020
Genetic counseling for prostate cancer testing goes telehealth
Genetic testing for prostate cancer in men is not yet commonplace, despite the positive impact that it could have on dec ...
JUL 01, 2020
Cancer
Surgeons use glowing dye in dogs to improve mammary cancer excision practices
JUL 01, 2020
Surgeons use glowing dye in dogs to improve mammary cancer excision practices
A glowing dye could help surgeons leave better “clean margins” during cancer excisions, allowing them to mak ...
JUL 20, 2020
Cancer
Fighting Cancer with Black Pepper
JUL 20, 2020
Fighting Cancer with Black Pepper
In the never-ending search for the next treatment or cure, many researchers turn towards nature. The study of black pepp ...
AUG 04, 2020
Cancer
Commonly used pesticides, approved by EPA, linked to mammary gland tumors
AUG 04, 2020
Commonly used pesticides, approved by EPA, linked to mammary gland tumors
In an analysis of how regulators review pesticides for their potential to cause cancer, researchers at Silent Spring Ins ...
Loading Comments...