MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Rutao Cui, MD/PhD
Vice Chair for Laboratory Administration
Director, Laboratory of Melanoma Biology
Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Professor of Dermatology
Boston, Mass 02118
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Red-headed people are making up to 1~2% of the world’s population. They carry “red hair color” variants of MC1R (MC1R-RHC) which are responsible for their characteristic features, including red hair, pale skin, freckles and poor tanning ability.
MC1R-RHC also increases risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. People without red hair but with a single copy of MC1R-RHC also have an increased melanoma risk, who may make more than 50% of the northern European population. It is unknown why redheads are more prone to melanoma, and whether the activity of red hair color variants could be restored for therapeutic benefits.