Thursday, December 23, 2004
Gene Which Causes Grey Hair May Cure Melanoma
Skin cancer study reveals roots of grey hair. A potential new target against melanoma - a type of skin cancer has been discovered by studying early-graying mice. The cancerous cell in melanoma, the melanocyte, is also the same cell which produces the color of hairs. When hair goes grey, the melanocytes have all died and no longer produce the pigment for the hair. These cells appear to die as part of "programmed cell death" or apoptosis. Certain signals have been discovered which may cause other cells to go through apoptosis. If the molecular signal is discovered which causes melanocytes to die, the same signal may also be used to cause the malignant melanoma cells to die. It is likely that if this leads to a therapy, one of the main side effects will be graying of the hair.