Sun Tan Pills

Reporter: Jonathan Creek

Forget sunbaking -- forget solariums -- and fake tans -- toss them out. The answer to healthy tanning could be in a tiny implant.Dr Philippe Wolgen is the Managing Director of "Clinuvel". He promises their drug can darken your skin in a matter of days. "You can see the benefit after 48 hours, which is the dark glow, the bronze of the skin and the increased pigmentation becomes a visable effect of this drug", he said.

But the drugs tanning effects are just the beginning. The claim is the implant will actually reduce the risks of skin cancer in fair skinned people by stimulating their pigmentation for 60 days. "It's a win/win if a darker skin makes you happy sure, but my focus is very much to prove that the biological pigmentation called melonin is able to prevent and protect against UV and in particular sun", Dr. Wolgen.

As Director of Dermatology at Royal Melbourne Hospital, Dr George Varigos is part of a world wide trail. The drug known as CUV 1647 will be administered to 150 transplant recipients because of their increased risk of developing skin cancer. "Transplant patients have a 40-60 fold increase in skin cancers and the reason for this is firstly their immune system is suppressed for their transplant and that immune suppression therefore takes away your surveillance system, that goes to your skin to cause damaged cells to die", Dr. Varigos said.

"We believe we have a drug that can address these problems in that specific group of patients, that seem to produce much higher rates of skin cancer than you and I", Dr. Wolgen said.

The trail is an important step towards proving the drug is more than a tanning solution, only when a genuine medical benefit is found, will it be approved for use by the relevant international authorities.

"We would support the research, it's positive in this group of patients that are particularly vulnerable to skin cancer. We'd think it'd be a very good idea to be able to protect these people by a new means like this", said The Cancer Council's Ian Olver. But he is convinced commonsense is the best way to avoid skin cancer. "At the moment, because it's experimental, we want to stress that going out into the hot sun where you're likely to get burnt, is bad for you and is likely to lead to skin cancer", he said.

All going to plan the product should be available for sale by 2009