Caffeine has previously been correlated with a reduced risk of cancer. But the latest research-aided theory coming out of Rutgers University is that putting caffeine into sunscreen will reduce that risk even more.
The Guardian UK says that when combined with sunscreen, caffeine, which inhibits a gene crucial to melanoma growth, will actually promote the death of cells damaged by UV rays.
Allan Conney of the department of chemical biology at Rutgers University in New Jersey wanted to find the specific molecular mechanisms behind it. He suspected that the response might involve a gene called ATR, which is suppressed when caffeine molecules are around. This suppression encourages the death of DNA-damaged cells.
Conney tested the idea by creating genetically modified mice whose ATR genes were deficient and exposing them to ultraviolet light until they developed skin cancer. After 19 weeks of UV exposure, he found that these mice developed 69% fewer tumours than those that had fully functioning ATR genes. In addition, tumours in the GM mice developed three weeks later than in standard mice.
So let's add another possible cancer killer to the list, shall we? And while we're at it, here are some other possible ways to avoid acquiring melanomas on your skin.
Drink a whole lotta wine.
Go to a beach covered entirely by umbrellas.