Ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B radiation are both significantly harmful to skin and can contribute to cancer. Although UVA radiation is less damaging than UVB, UVA can penetrate deeper and cause damage to the dermis region. Most sunscreens currently available offer high protection from UVB but not UVA radiation.
The concentration of free iron within cell’s mitochondria sensitizes them to UVA oxidative damage. Iron can catalyse the formation of toxic oxygen-containing radicals (ROS), which is detrimental to the organelles and can ultimately result in DNA damage and cell death by necrosis.
Scientists at the University of Bath and King’s College London have identified a new compound, ‘Mitoiron Claw’, which provides high protection from UVA damage and could be added to current sun creams within 3-4 years. The new compound is a mitochondria-targeted iron chelator that prevents free iron reacting with UVA rays within the mitochondria and thereby preventing UVA oxidative damage and cell death.
Mitoiron Claw treatment fully protected human dermal fibroblast cells when exposed to high but environmentally relevant doses of UVA radiation and was completely dependent on iron binding.
The strong iron chelators required for successful UVA photoprotection are incompatible with prolonged systemic exposure due to the toxic effects caused by iron starvation of healthy cells. This mitochondria-targeted iron chelator provides the solution to this problem and could address a current unmet need in the skincare and sunscreen fields.