Photosensitive Skin Disorders and Melanotan II

Is there potential for Melanotan II to treat photosensitive skin disorders? During the 1960s α-MSH effect on rats was studied. This research continued into the 1980s where scientists at the University of Arizona studied α-MSH to determine an agent that could achieve photoprotective stimulation of melanocytes. This research yielded two agents, MTI and MTII.

Each peptide produced different results, and eventually, Melanotan 1 was licensed to Epitan who later changed their name to Clinuvel. In October of 2019, Clinuvel was awarded FDA approval for its injectable time-release drug based on Melanotan 1 and is currently working to bring the therapy to the US market.

Melanotan 2, however, was licensed to Palatin Technologies who soon after ceased producing the peptide in favor of making Bremelanotide instead. In June of 2019, the FDA approved Bremalanotide for the treatment of hypoactive sexual disorder in women.

Types of Photosensitive Skin Disorders

Research Involving MTII

A review of the literature was accomplished in early 2016. This research paper titled, “The injecting use of image and performance‐enhancing drugs (IPED) in the general population: a systematic review” elicits what is currently known or demonstrated about MTII in regards to a myriad of conditions including erectile dysfunction and photosensitive skin disorders.

In 2020 a groundbreaking study demonstrated that topical Melanotan 2 might be effective at preventing Melanoma.

To investigate the anti-neoplastic potential of MTII, we evaluated the effect of MTII on the proliferation, migration, invasion, and anchorage-independent growth of B16-F10 melanoma cells. Despite the lack of effect on proliferation (Figure 1A), MTII significantly attenuated the migration (Figure 1B,C) and dose-dependently inhibited the invasiveness (Figure 1D) of B16-F10 melanoma cells. Moreover, MTII potently and dose-dependently suppressed the anchorage-independent growth of melanoma cells at as low as 0.1 nM (Figure 1E). These results suggest that MTII inhibited the oncogenic behaviors of B16-F10 melanoma cells with marginal influence on viability.

Research involving the potential of MTII should continue to trickle in as time progresses and we will of course continue to report on these compelling publications.