According to research from Oregon State University’s College of Pharmacy, a vaccination that stimulates the synthesis of a protein crucial to the skin’s antioxidant network might help people boost their defenses against skin cancer.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancer is the most frequent cancer in the United States. Melanoma, the worst form of skin cancer, is caused by the formation of malignant cells in skin cells known as melanocytes; melanocytes create the pigment melanin, which determines skin color.

According to the CDC, UV radiation exposure is responsible for the majority of skin cancer incidents. People become tanned as a result of sun exposure or tanning beds because the production of melanin is the body’s attempt to protect the skin from burning.

Despite attempts to raise public knowledge of melanoma warning signals and the consequences of excessive UV radiation exposure, the prevalence of melanoma continues to climb.

New vaccine methodology

TR1 is an abbreviation for thioredoxin reductase 1. TR1 is an important component of the antioxidant system in melanocytes. Antioxidants guard against reactive oxygen species, or ROS, which are on the lookout for electrons from molecules in cells and can cause DNA damage.

Melanocytes are under ROS attack not just from the sun, but also from the pigment-making process, melanogenesis, which produces ROS. Antioxidants prevent oxidation by facilitating the transfer of electrons, which acts as an off switch for what would otherwise be a chain reaction impacting many molecules in melanocytes and other cells.

How the vaccine protects you?

Messenger RNA vaccines function by telling cells to produce a certain protein. In the case of coronavirus vaccinations, it’s a harmless component of the virus’ spike protein that elicits an immune response; in the case of the proposed melanoma vaccine, it’s TR1. Researchers detected higher oxidative stress and DNA damage in the absence of TR1 despite the presence of other antioxidant proteins, suggesting that a TR1 vaccination alone may be adequate. However, additional antioxidants such as glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase may be useful as well.

Precautions against skin cancer

UV ray protection is essential all year, not just in the summer. UV rays may reach you even on overcast or chilly days because they reflect off surfaces such as water, cement, sand, and snow. UV rays are highest in the continental United States from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during daylight saving time (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. standard time).

Each day, the UV Index external icon anticipates the strength of UV rays. Protect your skin from overexposure to the sun if the UV index in your location is 3 or higher. When the UV index is 3 or higher, the CDC suggests simple strategies to protect your skin—

  • Keep to the shade.
  • Dress wear clothes that cover your arms and legs.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to protect your face, head, ears, and neck from the sun.
  • Wear sunglasses that cover your entire face and prevent both UVA and UVB radiation.
  • Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.

Researcher’s verdict and future prospects “Everything needs to be tested and validated in preclinical models,” he said. “We need to generate an mRNA vaccine, have it delivered locally or systematically and then monitor how it boosts the body’s defenses. Clearly we’re at the tip of the iceberg but the possibilities are exciting for preventing different types of disease progression including cancer by modulating the bodies’ antioxidant system.”