The researchers led by distinguished professor Chandradhar Dwivedi, head of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department in the College of Pharmacy at SDSU are analysing a number of molecules that can protect against skin cancer and may even help undo the sun's damage.
"We are looking at a number of molecules that can be used with sunscreen or without sunscreen. They are not simply blocking the radiation, but they are reversing the damage caused by radiation," said Dwivedi.
"We have been saying for a long time that prevention is the best medicine. We have to make the effort to prevent the disease before we treat it," he added.
Alpha-santalol molecule is one of the main components of oil of sandalwood. Dwivedi studied this molecule for nearly 15 years.
"This product has been very effective in preventing skin cancer caused by chemicals and by UV radiation," said Dwivedi.
"We have done our work in animal models," according to the researcher. "Now it's ready to go for testing in humans."
"Best of all, this molecule has a very nice fragrance, so people will not mind using it.
"It smells nice, and at the same time, it prevents chemically-caused or UV-induced skin cancer," he added.
Another molecule called sarcophine-diol, made from a product called sarcophine coming from coral found in the Red Sea is being studied for over the past five years.
Sarcophine-diol is effective in micrograms, as compared to milligrams, for other chemo-preventive products.
Dwivedi in collaboration with SDSU assistant professor Hesham Fahmy and a chemist look forward to combining products that protect against skin cancer to provide additive/synergistic effects on the protective properties of these molecules.
"We hope to include it in sun screen or lotion. Apply it once, and you are set for the day. We are hopeful that it will not only prevent skin cancer but may actually treat skin cancer," said Dwivedi.