Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A step toward a new sunscreen?

30.08.2010
Plant agents show promise in preventing skin cancer

Maybe you worshipped the sun in your youth or weren't as meticulous as you should have been with sunscreen. If so, take heart: Scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio are finding that certain plant substances, when given in combinations, may suppress damage that can cause skin cancer.

The substances, which occur naturally in grapes, berries, walnuts and a number of other plant-based foods, were tested on mice that had been genetically manipulated to be sensitive to skin cancer initiation and promotion/progression. Given in combination, even at low doses, the plant agents proved protective.

"On the basis of our research, supplements and creams or sunscreens may be developed, tested in humans and then used to prevent skin cancer," said Zbigniew Walaszek, Ph.D., research associate professor of pharmacology at the Health Science Center.

The natural agents include resveratrol, found in the skin of red grapes, and grape seed extract. Others are calcium D-glucarate, a salt of D-glucaric acid, which is present in the human bloodstream and in many fruits and vegetables, and ellagic acid, found in a host of berries and in walnuts.

Synergistic effects

Each of these compounds works in a different way, so giving them in combination is most protective. Scientists have administered the agents both topically and in the diet.

In one study, the team induced skin cancer by shaving the backs of rodents and applying a chemical that produces a genetic mutation. This was done twice a week for four weeks. At the same time, researchers applied topical resveratrol and fed the mice diets supplemented with various combinations of the plant substances.

The team evaluated several outcomes, including thickness in the outer layer of the skin. An increase in thickness indicates that precancerous cells are multiplying. Researchers also monitored mutations in Ha-ras, an oncogene that is a biomarker of cancer initiation, and inflammation, which is important in tumor promotion.

Even low doses of plant agent combinations produced protective effects, while the plant substances given individually produced markedly less benefit.

Preventing cell transformation

Dr. Walaszek's colleague and wife, Margaret Hanausek, Ph.D., research associate professor of pharmacology, said the findings hold great potential for those most at risk for skin cancer and other cancers involving epithelial cells, including lung cancer.

"The combined inhibitory effects of different plant chemicals are expected to be particularly beneficial to, for example, smokers, former smokers or individuals with heavily tanned skin, who carry thousands of cells already initiated for malignant transformation," Dr. Hanausek said.

Research scientist Magdalena Kowalczyk, Ph.D., agreed: "Described combinations may be very useful in the prevention of skin cancer and other epithelial cancers in humans, achieving a high efficacy and potency with reduced side effects."

The team continues to look for the best combinations of the natural agents in suppressing different events during skin cancer development, she said.

Future directions

Researchers acknowledge that not all information - for example, effects on organs such as the lungs - can be gleaned from a skin cancer model. But they say it is an exciting start.

"Our next step is to go to an ultraviolet B light model of skin cancer initiation and confirm our results," Dr. Walaszek said.

Team leader Thomas Slaga, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology at the Health Science Center, developed the mouse model of skin cancer. Called SENCAR, it is used by scientists worldwide.

The ongoing work is supported by two grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Citation of study mentioned above:

Synergistic Effects of Combined Phytochemicals and Skin Cancer Prevention in SENCAR Mice. Magdalena C. Kowalczyk, Piotr Kowalczyk, Olga Tolstykh, Margaret Hanausek, Zbigniew Walaszek, Thomas J. Slaga. Published online first January 26, 2010; doi: 10.1158/1940-6207. CAPR-09-0196 Cancer Prevention Research February 2010 3; 170

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country's leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled a record $259 million in fiscal year 2009. The university's schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 26,000 graduates. The $739 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways "We make lives better(r)," visit www.uthscsa.edu.

Will Sansom | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uthscsa.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>