of gray hair may help in finding the cause of skin cancer
Surprisingly, researchers have found the one of the factors
that can cause graying hair may also prove to be a cure for skin
In a study published in the on-line medical journal 'Science',
scientists have found ample similarities between the causes of
your hair turning grey and the highly deadly form of skin cancer
known as melanoma.
This study states that the loss of hair color is caused by a
gradual dying of adult stem cells that generate the melanocyte
cells which in turn make the pigment in hair follicles. The melanocytes
produce pigments that makes our hair appear brown, blond or red.
When the stem cells, from which melanocytes are made, become depleted
in hair follicles, there is a subsequent loss of pigment producing
ability and consequently, your hair loses color and turns grey.
A striking similarity is seen in skin cancer, as same stem cell
system fails to work correctly in the formation of malignant melanoma
cells. These are cells that manufacture pigments that proliferate
uncontrollably and produce cancerous tumors known as melanomas
in the skin.
The authors of this study are focussing more of their attention
towards finding some solution to the problem of skin cancer and
not merely on stopping the graying hair. Scientists are hopeful
that this discovery could lead to a successful treatment for melanoma,
which can prevent the deadly form of cancer from spreading or
even forming in the first place. Thousands of people develop this
type of cancer in America and worldwide, but unfortunately it
is an aggressive form of cancer that is very difficult to treat
successfully. It is estimated that malignant melanoma kills approximately
7,900 Americans each year.
More research and findings are needed to successfully establish
a definite relationship between gray hair development and melanoma
cancer, which would lead to a better understanding about the growth
of malignant melanoma cancers. This understanding would help in
making a cure to curb the unwanted growth of these cancers.
It is said that most scientific discoveries are revealed by accident,
and such accidents are always welcomed in the scientific community,
for, they lead to many astounding and wonderful concepts that
have helped mankind. This study may be one example of an accidental
discovery that leads to a significant advance in the treatment
of gray hair may help in finding the cause of skin cancer references
- Nishimura EK, Granter SR, Fisher DE.
Mechanisms of hair graying: incomplete melanocyte stem cell
maintenance in the niche. Science. 2005 Feb 4;307(5710):720-4.