London: A pill to stop skin cancer is on the anvil, say scientists who claim to be developing such a drug which may stop people developing the disease by repairing sunburn damage.

In its research, an international team, led by Ohio State University, has found out how animals protect themselves from the sun's harmful rays.

And the groundbreaking discovery will now pave the way for the creation of a drug which ends the scourge of sunburn and protect against one of the most deadly cancers,  a daily reported.

In fact, after 10 years of research, the researchers have made the breakthrough in how the effects of too much sun can be reversed.

When humans get sunburn the majority of our skin cells can repair themselves but the damage to DNA often leads to cells being killed off. Over time, the unrepaired area can develop into skin cancer.

Experts have long known that humans lack a key enzyme, which is present in insects, fish and marsupials that appear to repair the damage done to DNA by exposure to sun.

Now, the team has pieced together how the enzyme, called photolyase, works to repair DNA, a key finding which contradicts accepted theories of how key DNA molecules break up during the repair of sunburn.

Harmful ultraviolet light causes molecular injury to DNA and prevents it from replicating properly. But for animals which produce photolyase, the enzyme absorbs energy from visible light to shoot an electron into the damaged area, say the scientists.

(Agencies)