Study in Cell by Magen BioSciences Co-Founder David E. Fisher Identifies New Roles in Skin Cancer Prevention for Key Tumor Suppressor ProteinCAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mar 8, 2007 - Magen BioSciences, Inc., a specialty dermatology company, today announced the publication of a paper in the March 9, 2007 issue of the journal Cell by its co-founder and board member, David E. Fisher, M.D., Ph.D., that identifies two new functions for an important protein, p53, in the pigmentation of skin. Fisher's study shows that in addition to its function as a tumor suppressor in other cancers in the body, p53 also plays a key role in prompting the skin to tan in response to ultraviolet light from the sun. By promoting tanning, p53 deters the development of the skin cancer melanoma, which is increasing in incidence faster than any other cancer in the world.
Fisher's research also shows that p53 causes the production of an endorphin after ultraviolet exposure, and this may modulate sensation in the skin in a manner that influences behaviors, possibly including sun-seeking behaviors.
For Magen BioSciences, the study in Cell provides important proof of concept for the company's approach to identify and develop therapeutic treatments for pigmentation disorders.
"We know that people who tan easily or have dark pigmentation are far less likely to develop melanoma," said David Fisher, with the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute. "This study suggests that p53, one of the best-known tumor-suppressor proteins in our body, goes into action when skin cells experience UV exposure, prompting the skin to tan as a defensive mechanism against DNA damage and at the same time creating endorphins that may alter sensation or even behavior."
"Dr. Fisher's discovery of this new function for a well-known protein sheds new light on the mechanism and function of tanning," said Brian Gallagher, Ph.D., Magen's president and chief executive officer. "This discovery will help Magen BioSciences identify lead compounds and develop therapeutic treatments for disfiguring dermatological pigmentation disorders such as vitiligo, melasma, solar lentigos and post-inflammation hyperpigmentation."
About Magen BioSciences
Magen BioSciences is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing proprietary medical therapies for the dermatology market. Magen was co-founded in March 2006 by Richard Aldrich, David Fisher, M.D. Ph.D., Phillip Sharp, Ph.D., David Shaw, Christopher Walsh, Ph.D. and Christoph Westphal, M.D., Ph.D. Investors include Alexandria Real Estate, ARCH Venture Partners, Highland Capital Partners, IDG Ventures, Lux Capital, QVT Financial LP, TVM Capital and Venrock Associates.
Posted: March 2007