Melanin is a brown pigment that is delivered to keratinocytes in the skin after being excreted as melanosomes to form melanocytes. The primary function of melanin is to prevent UV-induced nuclear DNA damage. The biological system for induction, production, transfer and degradation of melanosomes is critical to controlling human skin health. Defects in melanin production in humans can cause diseases, such as skin cancer, vitiligo and albinism, many of which lack effective treatments due to their genetic origins. Therefore, there is an increasing interest in the production of synthetic melanin, as a substitute for natural melanin.
UC San Diego researchers in Professor Gianneschi’s lab have synthesized melanin-like nanoparticles (MelNP) which mimic both the physiochemical properties of natural melanins, as well as a number of physiological traits, which include:
Potential applications of MelNP include use as a UV protectant agent, therapeutic agent, or for cosmetic color
MeLNP have similar chemical composition to natural melanin and demonstrates similar broad band UV absorption, which provides an opportunity for use in cosmetic applications
This invention is available for licensing
Provisional patent filed