Investigating the Role of Hair Proteins in Fighting Cancer

Human Hair 40X Magnification.
Human Hair 40X Magnification. Taken at Strathclyde University Forensic Science Department by Edward Dowlman
Many scientists seek anticancer compounds derived from plants (e.g., black raspberry extract). What about something a bit closer to home: byproducts from humans? Markowicz et al. were interested in the effects that hair degradation products could have on cancer cells, specifically melanoma.

Hair from two donors, a gray-haired elderly man and a young brunette woman, were collected after a haircut and separately processed by activation in sodium hydroxide prior to digestion with pepsin, a protease that cleaves at the C-terminus of phenylalanine, leucine, tyrosine and tryptophan. The digested fragments were extracted, frozen and dried down. The remaining unsolubilized material was dried, ground and redigested with pepsin, yielding two samples of pepsin digests from each hair sample. The final pepsin digests were suspended in 70% ethanol. Continue reading “Investigating the Role of Hair Proteins in Fighting Cancer”