The more Bergeron
talked to the P&G executives, however, the better he felt about
The index of success for this project was much higher than just
a good idea, says Bergeron, the Frank Duckworth Eminent
Scholar in Drug Research and Development in the UF College of Pharmacy.
They already hold several patents on this compound, and theyve
done initial testing that shows it to be non-toxic for humans and effective
in preventing sun damage. They basically came to UF to get it over the
If anyone could succeed in moving PICT to the marketplace, P&G reasoned,
it was Bergeron. In addition to being one of the world's leading experts
on iron chelators, Bergeron heads a research team with considerable
experience in producing new medicines.
Why the University of Florida? Jeff Weedman, P&Gs
vice president of external business development and corporate licensing,
asks rhetorically. Its quite simple we see them as
the most qualified partner. They are one of the nations premier
research universities, and they have one of the worlds foremost
experts on iron chelators in Dr. Bergeron.
What we bring to this is experience in drug discovery and development,
Bergeron says. We understand how to design, assemble and evaluate
Bergeron adds that the University of Florida Health Science Center offers
all the expertise needed in one location. They would have had
to go to numerous institutions to find a similar collection of people.
After several months of negotiations through UFs Office of Technology
Licensing, P&G and the University of Florida Research Foundation
agreed to form a new company called ChelaDerm to continue the development
of the technology and seek approval for its use from the Food and Drug
Administration. P&G will contribute a royalty-free, exclusive license
of the PICT patents to the new company, while the research foundation
will underwrite independent clinical trials and provide ChelaDerm with
access to UF personnel and resources through a management services contract.
P&G is not able to devote resources to commercialize all of its
more than 27,000 patents, the company occasionally seeks partners to
advance technologies. P&G markets 250 brands to five billion consumers
in 130 countries and invests nearly $2 billion a year in research and
Although it is not completely certain how PICT actually works, researchers
have some insights, Bergeron says.
When ultraviolet light penetrates the skin it generates oxygen fragments,
called free radicals, which react with iron in the skin to deteriorate
it much like water rusts metal.
These free radicals initiate a chain of events that can result in damaged
skin cell membranes, production of carcinogens and breaks in DNA, leading
to skin wrinkling, sunburn and cancer.
The active ingredient in PICT 2-furildioxime or FDO appears
to protect the skin in two ways. On one hand, Bergeron says, it is an
iron chelator that binds to iron in the skin, preventing its role in
free radical generation. On the other hand, it is a great free
radical trap that could neutralize the reactive oxygen fragments
Although the precise mechanism of action clearly merits further
exploration, Bergeron says, the task right now is to unequivocally
demonstrate its efficacy in preventing sun-related skin damage.
Because it can be applied topically and last much longer than conventional
sunscreens, FDO has the potential to offer both improved prevention
of sunburn and a unique means of delaying or preventing the development
of skin cancer, Bergeron says.
Consumers have become increasingly aware of the dangers of unprotected
exposure to ultraviolet radiation, says Tom Minnick, P&Gs
director of external business development and president of ChelaDerm.
Were excited to work with UF in an effort to develop a new
sun care product to address both the short-term effects of sun exposure,
such as sunburn, as well as the long-term effects, including skin cancer
risk and premature aging of the skin.
Initial clinical trials will confirm the safety of FDO and determine
what combinations of FDO and sunscreens are most effective in preventing
skin damage. The trials initially will focus on individuals with the
autoimmune disease lupus, who are extremely sensitive to the sun.
ChelaDerm offers an unprecedented opportunity for the University
of Florida and P&G to pool their extensive intellectual and scientific
resources in an effort to alleviate the negative impact of ultraviolet
sun exposure, says Win Phillips, UFs vice president for
research. Facilitating the transfer of this kind of technology
from the laboratory to the marketplace in a timely manner is exactly
what the UF Research Foundation was established to do.
Eminent Scholar, Department of Medicinal Chemistry
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause
of skin cancer. Artificial sources of UV radiation, such as sunlamps
and tanning booths, can also cause skin cancer.
The most common warning sign of skin cancer is a change
on the skin, especially a new growth or a sore that doesn't heal. Often,
the first sign of melanoma is a change in the size, shape, color, or
feel of an existing mole.
Treatment for skin cancer usually involves some type
of surgery. In some cases, doctors suggest radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
Sometimes a combination of these methods is used. Many skin cancers
can be cut from the skin quickly and easily.
Skin cancer has a better prognosis than most other types
of cancer. Although skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in
this country, it accounts for much less than 1 percent of all cancer
deaths. It is cured in 85 to 95 percent of all cases.
rarely spreads, but it does so more often than basal cell carcinoma.
However, it is important that skin cancers be found and treated
early because they can invade and destroy nearby tissue.
accounts for more than 90 percent of all skin cancers in the United
States. It is a slow-growing cancer that seldom spreads to other
parts of the body.
is the most serious cancer of the skin. It occurs when melanocytes
become malignant. Melanoma can spread to the lymph nodes and from
there to other parts of the body.
to do a Skin Self-Exam
cancer can occur anywhere. Basal and squamous cell cancers are found
mainly on areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun - the head,
face, neck, hands and arms. Melanoma can occur on any skin surface.
In men, it is often found on the trunk (the area from the shoulders
to the hips) or the head and neck. In women, melanoma often develops
on the lower legs.
Although anyone can get skin cancer, the risk is greatest for people
who have fair skin that freckles easily - often those with red or blond
hair and blue or light-colored eyes. You can improve your chances of
finding skin cancer promptly by performing a simple skin self-exam regularly.
The best time to do this self-exam is after a shower or bath. You should
check your skin in a well-lighted room using a full-length mirror and
a hand-held mirror. Check all areas, including the back, the scalp and
genitals. Begin by learning where your birthmarks, moles and blemishes
are and what they usually look like. Check for anything new - a change
in the size, texture or color of a mole, or a sore that does not heal.
If you find anything unusual, see your doctor right away.
For more information
about skin cancer, visit the National Cancer Institute's Web site:
by the National Cancer Institute