Human Skin Bacteria Protect Against Skin Cancer

Human skin bacteria protect against skin cancer and this surprising discovery could someday lead to drugs that treat skin cancer.

On Wednesday, researchers revealed that bacteria that commonly live on your skin’s surface may not only keep “bad” bacteria at bay but may also protect you from skin cancer.


The researchers found Staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria that live on human skin, produces skin-cancer killing molecule. Staphylococcus epidermidis produces a specific anti-cancer compound known as 6-N-hydroxyaminopurine (6-HAP), according to researchers.

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, said that this substance stops the tumor cell’s spreading activated by over-exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.

They conducted a research in which testing was performed on mice. As a result, they found that bacteria produced molecule interferes with tumors but not normal skin cells.

During the research, they also found that injecting 6-HAP directly into the bloodstream may suppress the melanoma tumors’ growth by more than 50 percent.

They were working to discover the evidence that will prove “good” bacteria can keep bad bacteria at bay.  The fact is already known that the human microbiomes, the collection of microbes are essential to keep us healthy as they help affect appetite, digest food, influence disease, and may even help control mood. However, experts also said that animal’s research frequently doesn’t give same results in humans.

“Further study is needed to examine whether a loss of S. epidermidis strains producing 6-HAP increases a risk of skin cancer in humans or could be used as a preventative treatment,” said Dr. Richard Gallo, who chairs the Department of Dermatology at the University Of California San Diego School Of Medicine.

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