Kangaroos: The next hope for skin cancer?

Australian and Austrian scientists are investigating whether understanding how kangaroos repair their DNA can help them discover a way to prevent skin cancer in humans.

Drs. Linda Feketeová and Uta Wille from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Free Radical Chemistry and Biotechnology at The University of Melbourne have teamed up with Austrian researchers to study a DNA repair enzyme found in kangaroos and other organisms but not humans. The enzyme combats damage linked to many skin cancers.

Using highly sophisticated technology, the groups are simulating the skin's UV exposure in the laboratory and then analyzing the DNA repair process in a specialized mass spectrometer instrument. 

"We were quite surprised that the DNA's repair process also resulted in a number of chemical by-products, which have never been seen before," says Wille "Our plan is to study these products to understand if the DNA repair enzyme could be incorporated into a safe and effective method for skin cancer prevention."

Their work will be published as a "hot paper" in the upcoming edition of Chemical Communications.  

- check out the University of Melbourne's release
- read the Daily Mail's coverage