Chemotherapy drugs can save lives, and now, they can also erase years. A group of scientists recently stumbled upon an innovative treatment for aging skin by using fluorouracil to eliminate wrinkles and discoloration, giving patients a more youthful appearance.
A group of scientists at the University of Michigan recently stumbled upon an innovative treatment option for aging skin through the use of a common chemotherapy drug.
Fluorouracil is generally used to treat cancers of the colon, head, and other organs. It works by interrupting the copying process within the DNA of cancer cells, preventing them from dividing.
Clinicians were studying the effect of fluorouracil on skin tumors of cancer patients when they noticed that areas treated with the drug had changed their appearance, and they decided to find out why.
To this end, the drug was given in the form of a skin cream to 21 healthy volunteers with skin lesions and sun-damaged skin. Photos and biopsies of the treated areas were taken throughout the six month study period.
The results: the number of skin lesions in the patients was significantly reduced, along with decreases in wrinkling, dark spots, darkly pigmented areas and areas with yellowed skin.
It also stimulated the skin to produce pro-collagen protein — the molecular building blocks of collagen. And since collagen is the main ingredient in healthy, undamaged skin, the drug had actually kick-started a process of self-repair, leading the patient’s skin to repair itself.
Could fluorouracil be the key to a true anti-aging cream? The researchers behind the study don’t say so, but they do suggest that further research into the topical use of fluorouracil for cosmetic purposes may bear fruit.
And while it’s important to note that Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, a big dermatological products company, supported the study, the editors of the June issue of the Archives of Dermatology vetted the results, so the study’s data and conclusions are presumably completely legit.