Background: The study of xeroderma pigmentosum has yielded unforeseen advances regarding how defects in the nucleotide excision repair pathway result in this devastating disease, but development of therapeutic strategies has trailed behind the mechanistic discoveries. Objectives: This review aims to cover clinical presentation, molecular mechanisms and current management, and highlights more recent insights into targeting the deficiencies secondary to the DNA repair defects to prevent skin cancer and/or neurological degeneration. Methods: This review article discusses novel therapeutic approaches to xeroderma pigmentosum that focus on metabolic defects downstream of nucleotide excision repair. Results: Current research demonstrates that specific sulfonylureas promote clearance of DNA damage and increase resistance to ultraviolet radiation in a cellular model of xeroderma pigmentosum. Moreover, nicotinamide attenuates the effects of ultraviolet radiation in cells, and caloric restriction decreases DNA damage burden in animal models of xeroderma pigmentosum. Conclusions: Clinical management of patients with xeroderma pigmentosum still focuses on preventative avoidance of sun exposure as opposed to therapies that would improve the patients’ condition; thus, novel approaches to this disease are warranted.
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