NCI Drug Dictionary
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A synthetic peptide analogue of the naturally occurring alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (a-MSH) with potential photoprotective activity. Mimicking the action of a-MSH, afamelanotide stimulates melanocytes to increase the production and release of melanin. Increased melanocyte melanin may protect against ultraviolet radiation (UVR)-initiated cellular DNA damage, oxidation of membrane proteins, and alterations in intracellular signaling processes in epidermal cells. Endogenously, a-MSH is released by skin cells in response to UVR exposure, stimulating melanocytes to produce and release melanin. Check for active clinical trials or closed clinical trials using this agent. (NCI Thesaurus)