The researchers at the Spanish National Cancer Research Center in Madrid, Spain prepared a mouse model of Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP). It is a disease in which patients have increased sensitivity to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
The objective of the study was to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying skin cell telomere dysfunction. Telomeres are DNA sequences that cap chromosomes and control the number of times a cell may be copied.
The results of the study showed that the skin stem cells of the mice could not regenerate into new cells.
Now the scientists limited the activity of a tumor suppressor signaling protein, p53 in the mice. Surprisingly, the skin stem cells started proliferating again. Also the pigmentation reduced. But cancer development enhanced substantially.
Thus a close link is established among telomere dysfunction, cancer progression and skin cell regeneration. Detailed in-depth analysis is required to understand the factors underlying this relation.
If the research succeeds the patients suffering from various skin cancers can be effectively cured. The above study was published in Disease Models & Mechanisms (DMM).