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NCI Cancer Center News

Massachusetts General Hospital researchers find unexpected factor contributes to melanoma risk in red-haired, fair-skinned individuals

  • Posted: November 1, 2012

Red/blond pigment may actively participate in melanoma formation, identifying possible new prevention strategy. The well-established elevated risk of melanoma among people with red hair and fair skin may be caused by more than just a lack of natural protection against ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Researchers report finding that the type of skin pigment predominantly found in red-haired, fair-skinned individuals may itself contribute to the development of melanoma.

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Among the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 67 as Cancer Centers. Largely based in research universities, these facilities are home to many of the NCI-supported scientists who conduct a wide range of intense, laboratory research into cancer’s origins and development. The Cancer Centers Program also focuses on trans-disciplinary research, including population science and clinical research. The centers’ research results are often at the forefront of studies in the cancer field.