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Could east Asian genes help to cure skin cancer?

We’re committed to sun safety here at Shaded Nation and always like to hear about the latest research being undertaken to beat skin cancer.

As a result, we were very interested to learn about a new study that has suggested the genes of east Asian people could hold the secret to developing a treatment for the disease.

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University in the US have been investigating this link due to the fact east Asian people are far less susceptible to skin cancer than Europeans despite having a similar skin colour, the Conversation reports.

Could east-Asian genes help to cure skin cancer?

The scientists found 220 in every million Europeans contract the disease, while the figure is just 13 for east Asians. This is only slightly higher than the ten per million recorded among African people, who are more protected from the sun due to their darker skin.

In a bid to discover the reasons behind east Asians’ resistance to skin cancer, the researchers took DNA samples from the Orang Asli, an indigenous Malaysian tribe whose remote way of life means their gene pool has not been mixed with people of other races.

However, to continue their study the scientists need to collect more DNA from similarly isolated populations and are currently trying to build relations with the Kalinago people, who live on an undeveloped island within the Commonwealth of Dominica, in the hope of taking voluntary samples from the group.

“Finding the genes responsible for east Asians’ skin colour will kick off a new phase in melanoma research.

“We can compare the mechanisms and pathways of pigmentation in east Asians and Europeans, which can help find how melanoma occurs and drive the development of new treatments like gene therapy,” the researchers stated.

This is certainly an intriguing study and it will be interesting to see how it develops and hopefully it will help scientists to develop new skin cancer treatments and maybe even a cure.

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