Modify Your Genes ... With a Lotion
Take a second to imagine a future in which it's possible to modify your genes. What did you see? Doctors injecting fetuses with repaired DNA to cure genetic disorders in utero? Big metal tubes that bombard you with new genes until you're required by law to take up a life of crime fighting? Whatever it was, we'd wager a bajillion bucks right now that you didn't picture hand lotion. Yet, if the folks over at Northwestern University have anything to say in the matter, plain old lotion is exactly where the future of gene therapy lies, because they've invented a cream that -- no joke -- alters your freaking genetic makeup when you apply it to your skin. No futuristic sci-fi machines or lengthy hospital visits or gamma rays are involved -- just a cream that you rub on, which then takes a microscopic jackhammer to your double helix.
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And if we know anything about jackhammers, it works best at four in the morning.
Now, typically, the skin is a tough barrier for topical creams to cross. What the geniuses at Northwestern had to do to breach this barrier was load the cream up with compounds of nucleic acids, which are about a thousandth the diameter of a human hair. When you apply the cream, these acid structures spelunk their way through the microscopic cracks in your skin and then Batman the shit out of the evil genes lurking in the dark alleyways of your body. The researchers have tested the cream on mice and human skin, and, after a month of usage, there were no nasty side effects and hardly any superpowered mutant mice.
Although the early targets of this new type of gene treatment are cancers (melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma, two of the most common types of skin cancers), the researchers say they can program the cream to target tons of disorders by way of gene alteration. For example, psoriasis, aka the pain-in-the-ass scaly skin disease for which there is no cure, could be treated in this manner. Add pretty much all genetic skin disorders and even freaking wrinkles to the list of possible annoyances a cream like this could treat, and we won't be surprised if your future medicine cabinet is nothing but row after row of lotion bottles. Don't confuse the boner cream with the weight loss cream, Future Man.
"Actually, I might need weight loss down there ..." -Dozens of liars in the comments below
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For more ways to make yourself superhuman, check out 5 Ways to Trick Your Body Into Being More Awesome and 5 Ways To Hack Your Brain Into Awesomeness.
Speaking of hacking your brain, check out this video from this article's sponsor, Virgin Mobile.