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“Morning after” sun cream may prevent skin cancers

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7310.418d (Published 25 August 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:418
  1. Josefson Deborah
  1. San Francisco

    A topical cream with the potential to prevent skin cancers by reversing damage to DNA may one day be as widely available as sunscreen lotion.

    It also promises to serve as a “morning after” solution, as it can be used to reverse damage on a molecular level after a person has been sunburnt — although a health expert in the UK has questioned whether this might encourage people to ignore health messages about safe sun exposure.

    The cream uses a bacterial enzyme, T4 endonuclease, to identify, snip away, and repair fused pyrimidine base pairs in DNA, which frequently result from exposure to ultraviolet light. Their accumulation causes mutations that lead to premalignant skin lesions, such as actinic keratoses, and to tumours of …

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