Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Skin protection against UV radiation

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is considered harmful for human health, as UV rays are found responsible for DNA damage resulting in skin cancer and premature skin ageing. A substance that provides substantial protection and reduces DNA damage has been recently developed.
Skin protection against UV radiation
According to the WHO statistics, more than two million non-melanoma skin cancers and 130,000 malignant melanomas are found on an annual basis. It is also estimated that more than half of the diagnosed melanomas and other skin cancers are fatal. One of the primary causes of these skin cancers is prolonged exposure to solar UV radiation.

Commonly used protection against these harmful rays may be sought in cosmetics that cover a lot of UV range and skin types. However, these UV filters are preventive measures applied topically without providing absolute protection. Moreover, apart from the acute effects such as sunburns, UV radiation may induce degenerative skin cell changes that may also lead to skin ageing.

A German dermatology research group has recently developed a prototype substance that induces the Nucleotide Excision Repair (NER) system. The NER system has the ability to reduce UV- induced DNA damage that results in programmed cell death. The substance may be used as a protective means for photo-carcinogenesis, thus minimising the risk of skin cancer development. It also acts against UV-induced inflammations and skin ageing.

This innovation has already been tested both in-vitro in cell cultures, including human keratinocytes and in-vivo using mouse models. Both studies prove that after UV exposure and application of the substance, sunburn cells such as apoptotic keratinocytes were substantially decreased. Partners in the sunscreen and skin anti-aging cosmetics industry are sought for licence agreement.

The picture shows the reduction of the UV-induced DNA damage after application of the substance
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