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Mouthwash element slows skin cancer

Posted - Oct. 19, 2004 at 3:20 p.m.



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SEATTLE, Oct 19, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A common antibacterial and antifungal ingredient used in mouthwashes and tooth paste is showing signs it also offers protection against skin cancer.

The ingredient sanguinarine is an alkaloid present in the bloodroot plant, and is considered to have anti-bacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties.

In a study released Tuesday, sanguinarine was shown to enhance production of proteins that induce cell death, or apoptosis, in cells damaged by ultraviolet-B, or UVB radiation. It was also found to restrict skin cell production of other pro-proliferation proteins.

"This natural compound may protect skin from cells that acquire the genetic damage caused by UV radiation from advancing toward cancer," said Nihal Ahmad, assistant professor, Department of Dermatology, at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

"It is conceivable that sanguinarine may be used as a chemopreventive agent against skin cancer when used topically, supplemented with a sun screen," Ahmad told the Third Annual American Association for Cancer Research International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research in Seattle.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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