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Heal the Burn
By Elizabeth Esfahani

(Business 2.0) – Sunblock and shades are still the best ways to avoid joining the 1.3 million new U.S. cases of skin cancer every year. But a new kind of cream could soon be the next best defense--and may come to dominate the booming $6 billion prescription dermatology market. Dimericine, dubbed the "morning-after cream" by inventor Daniel Yarosh, is able to heal sun damage at the DNA level when applied the next day. "It essentially cleans up your genes," says Yarosh, president of Freeport, N.Y., pharmaceutical firm AGI Dermatics.

The cream's secret weapon is a patented delivery system using a reengineered microscopic pouch, or liposome, to transport a DNA-repair enzyme directly into the nucleus of a skin cell, where UV-related damage first occurs. Dimericine is still in clinical trials, but results so far have shown a reduction of as much as 60 percent in the rate of skin precancers among patients most vulnerable to the disease.

If Dimericine receives FDA approval, expected within the next three years, AGI will no doubt also profit from the cream's other benefit: antiaging. Preclinical tests have shown regular application also inhibits the formation of wrinkles. Though AGI doesn't plan to market Dimericine as an antiaging cream, it does intend to use the liposome delivery mechanism to develop other gene-cleaning skin therapies, taking the concept of cosmetics to a whole new level--molecular.