cause of gray hair may help in finding the cause of skin cancer
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Cause 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 cancer. 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 disease.


Cause 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. PMID: 15618488
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