Michael Jackson was resistant to skin cancer
13 Feb, 2011 - 07:57am
Seldom do millions of Michael Jackson fans know that the legendary singer suffered from a form of skin disorder called as Vitiligo. A research conducted by Dr Ying Jin et al stated that Vitiligo patients may have inherent immunity against skin cancer. Vitiligo is a disease in which hair and skin loose its color and develop colorless patches on it. This condition is caused by over defense mechanism of body itself when it starts attacking its own color producing cells of body- melanocytes. Till now, Vitiligo patients were said to be susceptible to all types of serious skin cancer.
The study was conducted on 1514 Vitiligo patients and 2818 normal persons. The scientists identified two gene variations linked with high risk of Vitiligo and reduced risk of cancer. They also found out other regions associating gene variations and inducing auto –immune in Vitiligo patients for several diseases like Type One Diabetes, thyroid, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Due to the earlier research findings, the scientists already knew which DNA sections are to be examined for genetic variations. The pattern of the research was genotyping where they scanned the DNA sections and checked for the genetic variations in the DNA of 1514 generalized Vitiligo patients. Then, the results were compared with the genotypes of 2813 healthy individuals. The researchers found out that, single letter genetic variations scientifically known as Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) found in the nine regions of chromosomes were responsible for the increased risk of Vitiligo.
The scientist found these SNPs in the regions where the other genes linked to the strong immune was detected earlier in other researches. One genetic variation site was observed to be linked with the gene TYR that has been known for its predisposition towards cancer.
The research came to conclusion that the genetic variations in chromosomal regions should be accountable for the high risk of Vitiligo and reduced vulnerability towards skin cancers.
To establish the credibility of the research, the scientists repeated the same study on the second set of sample. The study was backed up by high statistical mechanism and through a genome wide association pattern that reduces the ‘chances’ of finding links of genetic variations by luck. Moreover, its one of its own kinds of study that establishes the association between genetic variations and patients suffering from generalized Vitiligo. However, the results of this research show no accordance with the previous outcomes.
The study showed that almost 7.4 percent of Vitiligo was accounted to genetic variations. The other factors known ton trigger this disease are environmental and auto-immune.
The association between the gene variations and lower cancer risk has provided an impetus to cancer researches. The research adhered to quality procedures and ethical practices throughout the study. The consent and agreement to be part of this research was obtained from the participants in written. Procedures like DNA correction were done according to the quality parameters. To concrete the link between Vitiligo and cancer and genetic variations, however, a thorough study is needed. The researchers have also warned the Vitiligo patients to be careful while going out in the sun. As the chances of reduced risk is still a risk, after all.