WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
- Lots of people like having a natural looking tan, but with over 100,000 cases of skin cancer a year, noone likes the sun’s nefarious side effects, but now scientists have created a way to tan that doesn’t need the Sun
If you’re like me you probably like a good tan – but hate the fact that the more you tan the more you wrinkle and the more likely you are to, one day, get cancer, but now scientists at the US based Massachusetts General Hospital have announced that they’ve finally managed to create a new drug that causes a person’s skin to tan naturally without the risk of developing skin cancer, and without needing the sun.
As well darkening the skin, the scientists who worked on the drug, which is known as a Salt-Inducible Kinases inhibitor, or SIK inhibitor for short, claim that it’ll reduce the incidence of cancers such as Melanoma, there’s an app to detect them by the way – stay safe people – by creating a dark form of the pigment Melanin, the pigment responsible for colouring a persons skin.
Melanin causes UV rays on the skin to disintegrate and it’s that that limits the radiation damage in cells that’s often the first step towards developing cancerous cells.
According to the study, which was documented in the Cell Report journal, when the drug’s rubbed on skin it creates Melanin without it needing to be exposed to UV light – it’s also claimed that this same process could result in slowing the ageing appearance of the skin.
“Our real goal is to create a novel strategy for protecting skin from UV radiation and cancer,” said Professor David Fisher, who led the team, “dark pigment is associated with a lower risk of all forms of skin cancer – that would be really huge.”
So far the drug has worked successfully in tests on skin samples and on mice, and, redheads everywhere rejoice, yes, the report even states that it will work on you too. It worked so well during tests in fact that the mice that it was tested on turned black before their tans faded a few days later.
That said though Professor Fisher refuses to label his drugs effect as a fake tan.
“It would not actually be a fake tan, it would be the real thing,” Fisher said, “it would just be sunless.”
As they now head to human trials, as a next step, the team want to combine it with a sun cream to provide maximum protection against the sun, but Fisher also warned against the use of the drug as simply another means of cosmetically enhancing a person’s skin.
“It’s obviously critical that safety and toxicity studies need to be done. This is not a toy, it’s not a cosmetic.”
He’s a scientist he has to stay professional, but let’s face it how many of you are nodding your head saying “Yes it is, and I want it” and fear not, I will soon be stocking it on my soon to be created Tan Naturally website – which reminds me, I need to find thirty bucks to buy the domain name? Crowdfunding campaign anyone? Ten for the prize of a dozen…
Matthew Griffin Global Futurist, Tech Evangelist, X Prize Mentor ● Int'l Keynote Speaker ● Disruption, Futures and Innovation expert
Matthew Griffin, Futurist and Founder of the 311 Institute, a global futures think tank, is described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers.” Recognised in 2013, 2015 and 2016 as one of Europe’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew mentors several XPrize teams, and is an award winning author, entrepreneur and international speaker who is regularly featured on the BBC, Discovery, Kurzweil, Newsweek, TechCrunch and VentureBeat. Working hand in hand with accelerators, investors, governments, multi-nationals and regulators around the world Matthew shines a light on the future and helps them transform their industries, organisations, products and services by demonstrating how the combination of democratised, and increasingly powerful emerging technologies, are helping fuel cultural, industrial and societal change that is transforming old industries and creating new ones. Matthew’s clients include Accenture, Bain & Co, Bank of America, Booz Allen Hamilton, Boston Consulting Group, Dell EMC, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, E&Y, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, Huawei, JP Morgan Chase, KPMG, McKinsey & Co, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Schroeder’s, Sequoia Capital, UBS, the UK’s HM Treasury, the USAF and many others.