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Specialty pharmaceutical group Clinuvel (ASX: CIV) has received promising outcomes from final set of results from a study evaluating the DNA-repair capacity of its afamelanotide candidate.

For the general population, and specifically individuals with a fair skin type who easily sun burn, the results indicate that afamelanotide can reduce oxidative damage and inflammatory reactions after sun exposure and skin damage.

The study on skin of healthy volunteers exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation was conducted at Salford Royal Hospital, Manchester, with afamelanotide dosing found to lead to a reduction of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in skin.

“The results from RNA sequencing complement the earlier results we saw from immunohistochemistry, in that afamelanotide consistently seems to assist repair of UV-damaged DNA in the skin,” chief scientific officer, Dr Dennis Wright, said.

“The significance of these results evaluating the use of afamelanotide in reducing oxidative and inflammatory damage caused by UV is high for those at high risk of solar damage, sunburn and skin cancers, hence we will repeat and confirm these results in a final study.”

The study analysed biopsies from 7 patients with fair skin types taken prior to, and six days after, afamelanotide treatment.

Subsequent RNA sequencing found that, without afamelanotide, UV-irradiation resulted in 625 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in comparison to non-irradiated skin.

With afamelanotide, the DEGs between irradiated versus non-irradiated skin reduced to 183, a factor 3.4 less DEGs.

The genes evaluated are found as being crucial in the regulation of DNA repair and inflammatory reactions following solar and UV exposure.

Dr Wright said the results complement those analysed in 2023, illustrating that skin damage – characterised by the UV- erythema, or provoked sunburn damage, dose response – had been reduced and that DNA- damage markers had been significantly reduced.

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