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Kangaroo Enzmye May Protect Humans from Skin Cancer

We all know that we need vitamin D3 and that the best source is the sun. We also know that the sun can damage our DNA and increase our risk of skin cancer. We use sunscreen, but many still get skin cancer. Scientists at two universities believe they have found an enzyme in kangaroos that may, ultimately, be added to skin cream to create a DNA repair enzyme cream that, rubbed into our skin at the end of a day in the sun, might help prevent DNA damage.

Apparently kangaroos have something we lack: an enzyme that helps protect them from skin cancer. A collaborative team of scientists at Melbourne University (Australia) and the University of Innsbruck in Austria are investigating to see if sun-damaged human DNA could be repaired with this kangaroo model. “Other research teams have proposed a ‘dream cream’ containing the DNA repair enzyme which you could slap on your skin after a day in the sun,” Linda Feketeova, from Melbourne University said. “We are now examining whether this would be feasible by looking at the chemistry behind the DNA repair system.”

Since Australia gets a huge amount of sun, it’s no surprise that kangaroos have developed this enzyme. Over 400,000 Australians are diagnosed with skin cancer annually. It’s hoped that through bio-mimicry at the cellular level, the enzyme could be coaxed into activating in humans. “We were quite surprised that the DNA’s repair process also resulted in a number of chemical by-products, which have never been seen before,” said colleague Uta Wille. “Our plan is to study these products to understand if the DNA repair enzyme could be incorporated into a safe and effective method for skin cancer prevention.”

Although this is, naturally, years away, there is much to learn from other species. If this comes to fruition, it could be a giant step toward eliminating skin cancer.

To your health and beauty,

Dr. Martin O’Toole