Scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a drug that mimics sunlight to make the skin tan, with no damaging UV radiation involved.
According to researchers, the drug tricks the skin into producing the brown form of the pigment melanin in tests on skin samples and mice.
Evidence suggests the drug will work even on redheads, who normally just burn in the sun.
The team hopes the discovery could prevent skin cancer and even slow the appearance of ageing.
UV light makes the skin tan by causing damage.
Image source Pexels
This kicks off a chain of chemical reactions in the skin that ultimately leads to dark melanin – the body’s natural sun block – being made.
The drug is rubbed into the skin to skip the damage and kick-start the process of making melanin.
It is a markedly different approach to fake tan, which “paints” the skin without the protection from melanin, sun beds, which expose the skin to UV light or pills that claim to boost melanin production but still need UV light.
However, the team is not motivated by making a new cosmetic.
Tests, detailed in the journal Cell Reports, have shown the melanin produced by the drug was able to block harmful UV rays.
Eventually the scientists want to combine their drug with sun-cream to give maximum protection from solar radiation.
The way the drug works could also allow a ginger tan, as the genetic mutation that causes red hair and fair skin disrupts the normal process where UV light leads to dark melanin.
It is not yet clear if the drug might have the unintended consequence of affecting the glorious hair color, but it is thought the hair follicle is too deep in the skin for the drug to reach.
Anyway, whether you are ginger, blonde or brunette, the drug is not yet ready for commercial use.
Stem cells could be turned into killing machines to fight brain cancer, scientists from Harvard Medical School have discovered.
In experiments on mice, the stem cells were genetically engineered to produce and secrete toxins which kill brain tumors, without killing normal cells or themselves.
Researchers said the next stage was to test the procedure in humans.
A stem cell expert said this was “the future” of cancer treatment.
The study, published in the journal Stem Cells, was the work of scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.
For many years, they had been researching a stem-cell-based therapy for cancer, which would kill only tumor cells and no others.
They used genetic engineering to make stem cells that spewed out cancer-killing toxins, but, crucially, were also able to resist the effects of the poison they were producing.
They also posed no risk to normal, healthy cells.
In animal tests, the stem cells were surrounded in gel and placed at the site of the brain tumor after it had been removed.
Their cancer cells then died as they had no defense against the toxins.
Stem cells could be turned into killing machines to fight brain cancer
Dr. Khalid Shah, lead author and director of the molecular neurotherapy and imaging lab at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said the results were very positive.
“After doing all of the molecular analysis and imaging to track the inhibition of protein synthesis within brain tumors, we do see the toxins kill the cancer cells.”
He added: “Cancer-killing toxins have been used with great success in a variety of blood cancers, but they don’t work as well in solid tumors because the cancers aren’t as accessible and the toxins have a short half-life.”
But genetically engineering stem cells has changed all that, he said.
“Now, we have toxin-resistant stem cells that can make and release cancer-killing drugs.”
Dr. Khalid Shah now plans to test the technique using a number of different therapies on mice with glioblastoma, the most common brain tumor in human adults. He hopes the therapies could be used in clinical trials within the next five years.
Krystle Campbell has been identified as the second victim killed in the Boston Marathon terror attacks on Monday.
Krystle Campbell was a 29-year-old steakhouse manager who went to the race every year.
Doctors initially told her father, William Campbell Jr., that Krystle had survived the bombing and was undergoing surgery but had mistaken her for her friend.
William Campbell spent 12 hours believing his daughter had survived and only learned the truth after going into the post-operating room and saw his daughter’s friend instead.
“We had the doctors come out and tell us everything they did [on the survivor] – and it wasn’t our daughter,” William Campbell said.
Krystle Campbell went with her pal, Karen Rand, to cheer on Karen’s boyfriend.
They were struck by the first blast as they waited near the finish line.
Krystle Campbell has been identified as the second victim killed in the Boston Marathon terror attacks
William Campbell rushed to the hospital and felt relieved when doctors said they were operating on their daughter’s leg at Massachusetts General Hospital.
But when nurses brought them into a post-operating room around 2 a.m. he saw Karen Rand instead.
“I said, <<That’s not my daughter, that’s Karen! Where’s my daughter?>>. The doctors were as shocked as we were,” William Campbell said.
A Boston detective later showed them a photo of Krystle Campbell, who worked as a manager at Jimmy’s Steakhouse.
“I almost passed out on the floor,” William Campbell said as he was about to view his daughter’s body.
“She was the best person you’d ever meet. She helped everybody,” he said.
“I don’t care who you were, she was always there.”
Krystle Campbell was one of the three victims killed in the two blasts that came just seconds apart. The first victim identified was 8-year-old Martin Richard.
There were 176 people injured in the attack, and 17 people remain in critical condition. As many as 10 people suffered a lost limb, including two children.
“My daughter was the most lovable girl. She helped everybody, and I’m just so shocked right now. We’re just devastated,” William Campbell said.
“She was a wonderful, wonderful girl. Always willing to lend a hand.”
Krystle Campbell went to watch the Boston Marathon every year, according to Boston.com.
She attended the University of Massachusetts-Boston and was a graduate of Medford High School.
Her grandmother, Lillian Campbell of Somerville, Massachusetts, said Krystle had just moved to the town a short time ago.
Krystle Campbell was living with her grandmother to care for her during an illness for the past couple of years.
Lillian Campbell said that her granddaughter “was just beautiful”.
“She was fun, outgoing person. She was always there to help somebody. All her friends loved her.
“The family is besides themselves now because something happened to her,” the grandmother said.
Before working at the steakhouse, Krystle Campbell was a manager at the Summer Shack.
“The Summer Shack family is devastated by the loss of our beloved Krystle Campbell. Please keep her & her family in your thoughts & prayers,” the popular restaurant tweetedthis afternoon.
William Campbell had harsh words for whoever carried out the attack.
“I’m very angry. I hope they catch the bastard and fry him,” he said of whoever perpetrated the worst terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.
“I can’t understand it – someone doing that. People are out there enjoying a beautiful day and then to have this happen.
“And then the little boy that passed,” he told The New York Daily News, referring to 8-year-old Martin Richard.
“It’s totally tragic.”
The mayor of Medford, Massachusetts., Krystle Campbell’s hometown, said he had attempted to console William Campbell.
“Mr. Campbell said that she certainly was a dream daughter, the daughter that every father dreams to have and friends of hers said that she was eager about life,” Mayor Michael McGlynn said, according to Reuters.
“She had a great sense of humor and freckles and red hair that brought her right to her Irish roots. She was someone who worked hard at everything she did,” Michael McGlynn said.
“Another friend said she may have been a little loud at times but it was a loudness you loved.”
A former colleague of Krystle Campbell’s, Steve Sullivan of Pembroke, MA, toldBuzzFeed that Krystle was “a beautiful person” and “an angel”.
“Whenever I saw her she always had a smile on her face.”