Science & Tech, World

Xeroderma Pigmentosum: Possible Cure for Moon Children

People who suffer a rare genetic skin disorder, Xeroderma Pigmentosum, also called Moon Children, might have found a cure with the diabetes treatment drug Acetohexamide.

Xeroderma Pigmentosum: The Disease of Moon Children

Xeroderma Pigmentosum is a rare type of skin disease that causes bearers, Moon Children, to develop inflammation of the skin even with little exposure to the sun. This could eventually lead to skin cancer as their DNAs cannot repair the UV-induced damage. In some cases, total exposure to the sun or any UV emitting materials must be totally avoided. This is the reason that sufferers are referred to as Moon Children. For the longest time since this illness was discovered and introduced, there has been no official cure for it.

However, in order to mitigate the bad effects of their inability to protect themselves from the sun, non-exposure is highly encouraged. Moon Children are also given protective clothing and sunscreens. These might all be short-term fixes but some scientists theorize that a cure may be possible at a cellular level. This means that functional endonuclease genes – those that immediately repair UV damage at epidermis level – could be inserted into the cells. But in order for sufferers to totally heal, this process must be introduced to all cells. This is so they can guarantee a better protection from other types of radiation like that of an x-ray. This condition exists in all races but is higher among the Japanese.

Symptoms of Moon Children

People who suffer from this condition usually get diagnosed at an early age. More frequently, the symptoms show upon an infant’s first exposure to sunlight. They are noted to develop severe sunburns even with minimal exposure to the sun. Moreover, children develop freckles as well as rough-surfaced growths and other skin cancers. Their eyes are very sensitive to light so that they become teary and bloodshot.

Potential Cure for Moon Children

Many have been trying to look for a long-term cure for the disease and fortunately, some recent findings give hope to find a cure for Xeroderma Pigmentosum. It has found that the drug Acetohexamide, which is originally a maintenance drug used for Diabetes, can help enhance DNA resistance to UV-damage. Thus it could potentially be used to cure for Moon Children of their symptoms.

A team of researchers led by Principal Investigator at the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Joanna Loizou, determined Acetohexamide to boost resistance to UV damage the most. The method used, called CLOUD or CeMM Library of Unique Drugs, identified the Diabetes drug to help repair UV damage in cells.

How Xeroderma Pigmentosum Can be Cured

Particularly, they have found that it can alleviate the sensitivity of cells to UV damage and lesions. Further into the study, it was revealed that Acetohexamide degrades MYUTH, a DNA repair enzyme, which leads to an enhanced defense against UV damage. It showed that MUYUTH has not been implicated in DNA resistance to remove UV-caused damaged.

Moreover, this discovery poses a huge significance to find a definitive cure as the researchers tested Xeroderma Pigmentosum damaged cells themselves and did not use animals to prove the drug’s effectiveness. Though these findings are not yet the sole basis to prescribe the said drug to Moon Children, it has definitely led to a deeper understanding of DNA repair and showed a high probability that Xeroderma Pigmentosum might finally be curable.

About Patricia Abrihan

Patricia has always been inspired by the witty yet innocent voice of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird that she believes that writing is able to revolutionize ideas of society. She is a former college instructor from the Philippines and is currently a freelance writer and blogger managing her portfolio. She is open to collaboration and also loves reading and watching movies.

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