Every year about 1.3 million Americans are diagnosed with basal or squamous cell carcinoma, the two most common forms of skin cancer. The sun¿s ultraviolet light is the chief culprit in causing genetic mutations in skin cells. Researchers now say they have a skin lotion that can enter cells and fix their damaged DNA before they have a chance to develop into full-blown cancer cells.
The principle is simple: the lotion contains liposomes, little oily vesicles, filled with a viral DNA-repair enzyme called T4 endonuclease V. The liposomes penetrate the epidermis and enter the cells. Once released inside, the enzymes are small enough to make their way into the nucleus, which contains the DNA. Here they bind very tightly to the most common DNA mutations caused by sunlight--so-called cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers, in which two DNA bases are fused. By partially cutting off the dimers and breaking the DNA strand next to them, the enzymes initiate a repair process that other cellular enzymes complete.
This article was originally published with the title Skin So Fixed.