(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Most of us know that sunscreens can protect us from sunburns, but in a first of a kind study, researchers have proven they can also prevent the development of melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer. Led by Christin Burd, PhD, a team of researchers used special mice with skin remarkably similar to humans, and protected them with SPF-30 sunscreens. The work was done at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute in Columbus, Ohio. Though the sunscreens had different ingredients, they were all effective reducing the time of melanoma development by 80 percent.
“They all worked,” said Burd. “Now, for the first time, we have a mechanism to say yes, this sunscreen can protect against melanoma and we hope that we can now use that information to develop better, smarter sunscreens.”
Many consumers don’t realize that the vast majority of sunscreens are currently manufactured and sold as cosmetics, not as pharmaceuticals. Because of that, regulations only require that they are safe to use, not necessarily effective in providing protection.
“We know sunburns are a major risk factor in developing melanoma, but there are many other risk factors, as well,” said Burd. “If we can isolate which ingredients provide the best protection, we could develop products guaranteed to prevent melanoma in the future.”