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Melanotan 2 (MT2) also known as the Barbie drug has a few desired effects:
- Increased libido
- Weight loss
- Tanning of skin
“Melanotan II was first synthesized at the University of Arizona. Researchers there knew that one of the best defences against skin cancer was melanin activated in the skin, a tan. They hypothesized that an effective way to reduce skin cancer rates in people would be to induce the body’s natural pigmentary system to produce a protective tan prior to UV exposure. The body’s naturally-occurring hormone α-MSH causes melanogenesis, a process by which the skin’s pigment cells (melanocytes) produce the skin’s pigment (melanin).They tested to see if administering this endogenous hormone to the body directly could be an effective method to cause sunless tanning. What they found was that while it appeared to work, natural α-MSH had too short a half-life in the body to be practical as a therapeutic drug. So they decided to find a more potent and stable alternative, one that would be more practical.
After synthesizing and screening hundreds of molecules, the researchers headed by Victor J. Hruby and Mac E. Hadley, found a peptide, [Nle4,D-Phe7]-α-MSH, that was approximately 1,000 times more potent than natural α-MSH.They dubbed this new peptide molecule “melanotan” (later melanotan-1, now known as afamelanotide). They subsequently developed another analogue, Ac-Nle-cyclo[Asp-His-D-Phe-Arg-Trp-Lys]-NH2), which they called “melanotan II”. The scientists hoped to use these peptides to prevent melanoma by stimulating the body’s natural pigmentary mechanism to create a tan without first needing exposure to harmful levels of UV radiation.This in turn, they hypothesized, could reduce the potential for skin damage that can possibly lead to skin cancer.
The scientists licensed their patented peptides, via a technology transfer company, to a number of biotechnology companies who intend to develop them into drugs
General population usage of melanotan peptides.
General public users of the melanotan peptides have been reported to number into the thousands with one BBC report explaining that a January 2009 straw poll by the reporting journalist of just 6 UK needle exchanges revealed, “nearly 500 people wanting the syringes [for peptide usage] or information about melanotan”. Academic researchers reported on a then “thriving” internet community of users of the peptides at the site Melanotan.org where members discussed their experiences using the unlicensed and unregulated drugs. The site was reported to number more than 5,000 members as of February 2009. A January 2009 report in Wired Science described the site’s forum as having more than 50,000 posts primarily covering “Usage and Experimentation” by members with many covering detailed regimens on how to attain skin darkening and/or sexual function improvements.
In May 2010 the Norwegian tabloid daily Verdens Gang published a story based upon a report by the Norwegian Pharmacy Association stating that 10,000 syringes are sold annually to Norwegian users of melanotan-1 and melanotan II.”