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Fat Cells Help Melanoma Spread

A new study has revealed fat cells secrete molecules that can trigger the transformation of melanoma...
A new study has revealed fat cells secrete molecules that can trigger the transformation of melanoma into its aggressive metastatic form(Credit: vitanovski/Depositphotos)

A team of scientists from Israel report compelling new insights into how the metastatic spread of melanoma is assisted by nearby fat cells. The research does not suggest obesity enhances the metastatic potential of skin cancers but it does point to new drugs that can stop the spread of melanoma. read more

Fast Food May Save Your Life

The fat found in fast food can help protect against the deadliest form of skin cancer, a study claims.

Experts found that palmitic acid, which is in products such as burgers and cookies, fuels a protein involved in the pigmentation process to help protect against harmful skin cancer mutations.

While fast food can have harmful effects on the heart and brain, it could prevent melanoma, a deadly skin cancer.

Rates of people being diagnosed with melanoma have increased the past 30 years in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates close to 10,000 people will die from the cancer this year.

Experts said this breakthrough in research could lead to a drug for those who are red hair, fair skinned or have consistently tanned, all of whom are more at risk to get skin cancer.

A fat found in fast food can help prevent someone from getting melanoma, a new study showed. Palmitic acid is found in a lot of fast food such as burgers, fries and cookies. This acid, or fatty lipid, fought against mutations that cause skin cancer in mice

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Sunbathing Sharks

Sharks who spend too much time in the sun get a tan, researchers have discovered.

However, they do not appear to suffer from skin disease, raising hopes that shark skin could hold the key to beating skin cancer.

‘As far as I’m aware, sharks appear very robust to skin damage and disease,’ said Michael Sweet, a researcher in the School of Biology at Newcastle University’s Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability.

‘I don’t know what makes shark skin so special, but it definitely needs to be studied.

‘There have been a lot of attempts to induce melanomas in sharks to no affect.’

Researchers hope that if they can find the secret of how shark skin protects itself, it could be used to create a ‘shark lotion’ to protect human skin.

Another recent study, undertaken by the California State University Shark Lab, also looked at tanning in sharks.

Hammerhead shark pups held in a shallow clear seawater pond at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology darkened after several weeks, where UV levels are 600 times greater than those in their regular habitat of Kaneohe Bay.

An opaque filter was placed over the pectoral fins of untanned sharks to cut out UV light, to determine whether the darkening was due to solar radiation.

‘Areas of skin from under the opaque filter were untanned, whereas all other skin exposed to direct sunlight was considerably darker, resulting in distinct ‘tan lines’, the researchers said.

Our experiments demonstrated that the sharks were truly sun-tanning and that the response was, in fact, induced by the increase in solar radiation, particularly UV.

‘These sharks increased the melanin content in their skin by 14 percent over 21 days, and up to 28 percent over 215 days.’

The researchers said the only other animals known to suntan are mammals.

Attribution: Medical Daily, Mail Online

Cancer Gets Creamed

WHEN a disease runs skin deep, perhaps all that is needed is moisturizer supercharged with gene-regulation technology.

For skin conditions including melanoma, treatments that are applied directly to the skin are the ideal drug solution: they are easy to use and they affect only the area under which they are applied.

The problem is that our skin is such a successful barrier against toxins that finding substances that penetrate it is a huge challenge, says Amy Paller at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. So until now, clinics have used lasers or ultrasound to help deliver drugs deep into the skin.

Paller and her colleague Chad Mirkin, also at Northwestern, have found a way through the skin barrier. They coated tiny gold spheres with small interfering RNA (siRNA) – tiny pieces of nucleic acid that appear to penetrate the barrier and enter skin cells through an as-yet unspecified pathway. The siRNA is selected to target one of the genes responsible for making cancer cells grow quickly, called epidermal growth factor receptor.

Paller and Mirkin mixed the drug with store-bought moisturizer and applied it to mouse skin. Not only did the nanoparticles penetrate the skin, but they also targeted the intended gene without causing toxicity or other side effects in the surrounding skin.

Attribution: New Scientist