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Beta-Blocking Sunscreen

May 9, 2017

A common blood pressure drug could prevent skin cancer.


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Sunscreen in a beta-blocker. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Scientists studying whether a common high blood pressure medication promotes the growth of cancer in laboratory experiments have found that the drug may have anti-cancer properties instead. This according to Western University of Health Sciences pharmacologist Bradley Andresen.

BRADLEY ANDRESEN (Western University of Health Sciences):

And, lo and behold, that mistake completely changed our direction because the beta blocker carvedilol, so far, shows promise of preventing skin cancer.


At the annual meeting of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, graduate student Sherry Liang explained that carvedilol protects DNA in the top layer of skin from being damaged by ultraviolet radiation, and prevents tumors from forming in mice. The researchers think carvedilol could one day be mixed into sunscreens to fight skin cancer. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard