In a new study from Oregon State University, researchers found that a vaccine stimulating the production of a protein critical to the skin’s antioxidant network could help people bolster their defenses against skin cancer.
Ultraviolet radiation from the sun leads to oxidative stress, which increases the risk of skin cancers such as melanoma.
A messenger RNA vaccine, like the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for COVID-19, that promoted the production of the protein, TR1, in skin cells could mitigate the risk of UV-induced cancers and other skin problems.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Melanoma, the most lethal type of skin cancer, is a form in which malignant cells form in skin cells known as melanocytes; melanocytes produce the pigment melanin, which determines skin color.
Most cases of skin cancer are linked to UV radiation exposure. People become tan from exposure to the sun or tanning beds because producing melanin is the body’s way of trying to protect the skin from burning.
Messenger RNA vaccines work by instructing cells to make a particular protein.
In the case of the coronavirus vaccines, it’s a harmless piece of the virus’ spike protein, which triggers an immune response; for the proposed melanoma vaccine, it would be TR1.
The team says everything needs to be tested and validated in preclinical models.
They need to generate an mRNA vaccine, have it delivered locally or systematically and then monitor how it boosts the body’s defenses.
If you care about skin cancer risk, please read studies about when should you see a dermatologist, and common drug that could protect you from skin cancer.
The study is published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. One author of the study is Arup Indra.
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