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posted by n1 on Monday June 19, @02:40AM   Printer-friendly
from the bronze-gods dept.

Is your skin naturally toned from a UV tanning bed, or are you on salt-inducible kinase inhibitors?

A new compound promises to give human skin a suntan without the sun. The compound hasn't yet been tested in clinical trials—just in mice and on patches of human skin leftover from surgeries. But doctors are hopeful it could one day combat skin cancer by keeping people away from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

"Assuming there are no safety concerns, it is clearly a better option than UV exposure," says Jerod Stapleton, a behavioral scientist at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick who studies indoor tanning and was not involved in the work. "We are talking about millions of young people potentially not using tanning beds each year. ... It could be a game-changer for skin cancer prevention."

The advance has its origins in a strain of "redhead" mice with rust-colored fur. The rodents harbor a variant of a gene called MC1R that gives rise to red hair and fair skin in humans. A properly functioning MC1R gene encodes a receptor that sits on the surface of skin cells called melanocytes, which transmit a signal to crank out dark melanin pigments; these pigments help protect skin cells from UV radiation. The redhead version of the receptor doesn't respond to the make-more-melanin signal, which explains why redheaded humans tend to burn, not tan.

David Fisher, a dermatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, reasoned that he could help people tan by finding a way to stimulate this melaninmaking pathway. He and chemist Nathanael Gray of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston targeted a protein called salt-inducible kinase (SIK), which works like a master off switch in the melanin factory. They bought a molecule known to inhibit SIK from a chemical supplier, and applied the compound as a liquid to the shaven backs of the redhead mice. After 7 days of daily treatment, the mouse skin turned "almost jet black," Fishers says. The tan was reversible though, and the rodents' skin tone returned mostly back to normal in about 2 weeks. Fisher notes that were no apparent safety concerns, but this would need to be tested more rigorously before human application.

A UV-Independent Topical Small-Molecule Approach for Melanin Production in Human Skin (open, DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.05.042) (DX)


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @02:54AM (10 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @02:54AM (#527699)

    Now you really can be black if you want to be?

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @02:57AM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @02:57AM (#527701)

      Yes [wikipedia.org]

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @04:03AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @04:03AM (#527716)

        Oh that's all.

        Here I thought somebody had a theory that Hypatia in Alexandria was mixed race or something.

        I think it's just TERF confusion. Transracialism would be cultural appropriation, so they need to resolve that noodle first.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @04:09AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @04:09AM (#527719)

          Er, never mind, they have solved that noodle in their minds. They have the insane belief that being a woman is a culture.

          Their idea of the kind of culture women should have... short hair, masturbatory obsession with their body parts, no sex... yuck. Who'd want that?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @07:20PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @07:20PM (#528096)

          What the hell is TERF. Now cultural appropriation is something to get worked up over? So non-French people shouldn't use penicillin? Only Americans can use transistors? Relativity theory is for the Jewish diaspora? Get a life.

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by Mykl on Monday June 19, @04:57AM

        by Mykl (1112) on Monday June 19, @04:57AM (#527735)

        Wow - I just read through parent's Wikipedia link, and it's an amazing example of exactly what's wrong in 'progressive' academia today.

        (Trigger warning!)

    • (Score: 2) by AthanasiusKircher on Monday June 19, @03:13AM

      by AthanasiusKircher (5291) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 19, @03:13AM (#527704) Journal

      Tropic Thunder becomes reality.

      But never go full retard [youtube.com].

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @03:14AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @03:14AM (#527705)

      "Now you really can be black if you want to be?"

      $
      $
      $

      To get the full effect you will need to sniff glue or deprive your brain of oxygen, so you have brain damage, and then take a lot of steroids so you are prone to fits of illogical rage which leads to pointless violence. After these procedures, you will fit into most any ghetto.

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @03:28AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @03:28AM (#527708)

        You idiots label the above post a troll, but those of us with some experience in the real world know it reflects how things are in the real world. What's the real world ? It's that scary place outside your mommy's house. You may have seen videos of it on YouTube.

        • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @01:28PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @01:28PM (#527888)

          So far the scariest people I've encountered are Christians. While I've met a number of people who were black while acting like idiots, the closest I've come to life-threatening fight-or-flight situations is with Christians.

          I now carry a weapon in my car because I'm worried that a Christian may feel emboldened to go a bit further than intimidation these days.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @05:17PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @05:17PM (#528028)

            All the above are trolls. But its okay to slander Christians.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by kaszz on Monday June 19, @04:32AM (8 children)

    by kaszz (4211) on Monday June 19, @04:32AM (#527729) Journal

    The redhead version of the receptor doesn't respond to the make-more-melanin signal, which explains why redheaded humans tend to burn, not tan.

    In other words it won't pay for redheads to try sun exposure to get a tan?

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by RedBear on Monday June 19, @07:24AM (7 children)

      by RedBear (1734) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 19, @07:24AM (#527793)

      In other words it won't pay for redheads to try sun exposure to get a tan?

      No. Exactly as the article says, redheads tend to simply burn and peel when exposed to UV or sunlight, with little to show for it afterward. Even with a slice of Native American genes and a father who tanned quite easily, it takes days of moderate exposure for me to even have a visible tan line around arms or neck. The fairer the skin, the worse the problem. True redheads tend to just develop more and darker freckling over time with sun exposure. There's a reason you typically see freckles on the ears, cheeks, top of the arms and the exposed chest, and very little anywhere that's always covered.

      The tanning industry is huge, and if this chemical has even manageable side effects it will be a game changer. Huge numbers of people do not like being pale enough that you can see their veins and arteries. If it's also true that it can be safely used to turn yourself not just slightly tanned but almost "jet black" in a believable and totally reversible way, it could be used to eventually bring about a sea change in the way our society deals with race. A lot of people would stop saying racism is "over" after spending a year as a very dark-skinned person.

      --
      ¯\_ʕ◔.◔ʔ_/¯ LOL. I dunno. I'm just a bear.
      ... Peace out. Got bear stuff to do. 彡ʕ⌐■.■ʔ
      • (Score: 1, Troll) by VLM on Monday June 19, @12:44PM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 19, @12:44PM (#527872)

        after spending a year as a very dark-skinned person

        I suspect for virtue signalling reasons this experience will be mandatory for college application, if not attendance, soon after approval.

        Racial differences extend beyond skin color which pretty much invalidates the whole thought experiment.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @01:36PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @01:36PM (#527892)

        A lot of people would stop saying racism is "over" after spending a year as a very dark-skinned person.

        It’s been done. [wikipedia.org]

      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @05:22PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @05:22PM (#528033)

        A lot of people would stop saying racism is "over" after spending a year as a very dark-skinned person.

        The problem is that many black people are violent and don't appreciate novelty. This would stay even if they become white. So the thing about skin color is plainly a correlated indicator. Not a bad thing in itself, otherwise white people would not appreciate sun tanning. So on a group basis, it pays to avoid black people. If you know a individual to be good, then that superficial indicator becomes largely irrelevant.

        MAO-A gene expression and limbic system differences likely play a role as well.

        • (Score: 2) by RedBear on Tuesday June 20, @06:21AM

          by RedBear (1734) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 20, @06:21AM (#528353)

          I could take everything you just said and replace the word "black" with the word "white" and it would be equally true.

          What I'm trying to tell you is that you are a horrible racist. No matter how much you want it to be true to make yourself feel superior, there is no racial or ethnic group, or social or financial class of humans that are subhuman in any scientifically measurable way. Your racist beliefs are based solely on personal opinion and confirmation bias.

          --
          ¯\_ʕ◔.◔ʔ_/¯ LOL. I dunno. I'm just a bear.
          ... Peace out. Got bear stuff to do. 彡ʕ⌐■.■ʔ
      • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Monday June 19, @09:37PM (1 child)

        by bob_super (1357) on Monday June 19, @09:37PM (#528167)

        > A lot of people would stop saying racism is "over" after spending a year as a very dark-skinned person.

        Since a significant number of them would be either dead or in jail, we wouldn't hear them say it anymore.

        > The tanning industry is huge

        True, and the goal is not to be too dark, so the dosage will have to be scientific, and the two-week expiration is perfect for sustained income.
        Considering how tanning salons exist even in SoCal, I've got a lab I need to break into...

        A cream producing the opposite effect would make someone a billionaire in a few days, starting with just the Indian market.

        • (Score: 2) by RedBear on Tuesday June 20, @06:11AM

          by RedBear (1734) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 20, @06:11AM (#528351)

          A cream producing the opposite effect would make someone a billionaire in a few days, starting with just the Indian market.

          Oh yeah, good point. I always forget how huge skin whitening is all over Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Many of the dodgy skin bleaching products on the market have horrible side effects up to and including cancer and death. This discovery may well lead to finding a safer way to block melanin production for those who think they are too dark. That's actually probably a larger market than the tanning industry.

          --
          ¯\_ʕ◔.◔ʔ_/¯ LOL. I dunno. I'm just a bear.
          ... Peace out. Got bear stuff to do. 彡ʕ⌐■.■ʔ
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @10:22PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @10:22PM (#528183)

        You might need to get an IV. This is trivial if your veins show.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @05:45AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @05:45AM (#527750)

    Baffle

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by realDonaldTrump on Monday June 19, @01:07PM

    by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Monday June 19, @01:07PM (#527878) Journal

    Let me tell you folks, I've always wanted melanin. More than anything. But believe me, spelling can be a bitch. As can wives. Some wives. A lot, a lot of wives can be bitches. Guys -- men -- this is for the men out there. Men, let me tell you something. There's nothing really nice about it. But in our world -- with the long courts and with the vicious lawyers, and with all of the problems -- if you have money or if you think you're going to have money, you have to have a prenuptial agreement. Look at Jamie. Look at Jamie Dimon from JP Morgan. Great guy, very smart cookie. So he's gonna be worth like $18, $19 billion, you're telling me he's got a girlfriend, does he get a prenuptial agreement? They get married, and then for some reason over the next couple of years they get divorced and then she sues him for $10 billion and she hits the jackpot. In New York, she would get a big chunk of what he has. Horrible, horrible mistake. So don't be a schmuck, don't get schlonged by your wives. Always get a prenup. And I love this discovery for the melanin. Don't tell me about safety concerns. Let me tell you about safety concerns. So my skin looks OK. I got a little spray. Give me a little spray. You know you’re not allowed to use tanning spray anymore because it affects the ozone. You know that, right? I said, "You mean to tell me" -- because you know, tanning spray’s not like it used to be. It used to be real good. When I put on that tan, look it, my tan. Give me a mirror. Today you put the tanning spray on and it’s good for twelve minutes, right? They say you can’t. I said, "Wait a minute, so if I take tanning spray and I spray it in my apartment which is all sealed, you’re telling me that affects the ozone layer?" Yes? I say: no way, folks. No way.

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