Author Interviews, Dermatology, Genetic Research, Yale / 05.06.2017 Interview with: Keith Adam Choate, MD, PhD, FAAD Associate Professor of Dermatology, Genetics and Pathology Director of Research, Dermatology Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  Over the last 10 years, we have systematically been examining patients with ichthyosis to identify new genetic causes of this group of disorders.  We found that autosomal recessive mutations in KDSR cause ichthyosis and that the resulting skin disease is effectively treated with isotretinoin. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology / 01.06.2017 Interview with: Jean-François Cailhier, M.D., Ph.D., FRCP(c) Professeur Agrégé de Clinique/ Associate Professor Département de Médecine, Faculté de Médecine Université de Montreal What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Milk Fat Globule Epidermal Growth Factor-8 (MFG-E8) is released by apoptotic cells and activated cells in the skin. Its effect on endothelial cells and pericytes was previously reported to accelerate wound healing. In our wound healing model, we demonstrated that MFG-E8 was important to reprogram skin macrophages into pro-repair cells. Moreover, we demonstrated that administration of exogenous MFG-E8 was able to accelerate wound healing in WT and MFG-E8 KO mice by generating M2 macrophages. Furthermore, to highlight to importance of MFG-E8 on macrophage reprogramming, adoptive transfer of MFG-E8-treated macrophages also promoted wound healing. These pro-repair effects seem to be dependent on the production of a crucial fibroblast growth factor, basic Fibroblast Growth Factor (bFGF), by macrophages which promoted fibroblast migration and proliferation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, OBGYNE / 16.05.2017 Interview with: Alexander Egeberg, MD PhD Gentofte Hospital Department of Dermatology and Allergy Denmark What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: An issue that frequently arise in clinical practice is the question from patients whether they should discontinue their therapy if they want to have children. Since immunosuppressant agents are frequently used for a number of conditions, and discontinuation could lead to disease flaring, assessment of the potential impact of such drugs on birth outcomes is important. In our study, we examined birth outcomes in children whose father had received treatment with methotrexate, azathioprine, cyclosporine, and mycophenolate mofetil in the time leading up to conception. Importantly, we found no increased risk of congenital abnormalities, low birth weight, or preterm birth associated with paternal treatment with these drugs. (more…)
Allergies, Asthma, Author Interviews, Dermatology, PLoS, Vitamin D / 10.05.2017 Interview with: Brent Richards, MD, MSc Associate Professor of Medicine William Dawson Scholar / FRQS Clinical Research Scholar Departments of Medicine, Human Genetics, Epidemiology and Biostatistics McGill University Senior Lecturer, King's College London (Honorary) What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Some previous epidemiological studies have suggested that low vitamin D levels are associated with increased rates of asthma, atopic dermatitis—an itchy inflammation of the skin—and elevated levels of IgE, an immune molecule linked to atopic disease (allergies). In our study, we looked at genetic and health data on more than 100,000 individuals from previous large studies to determine whether genetic alterations that are associated with vitamin D levels predispose people to the aforementioned conditions. We found no statistically significant difference between rates of asthma (including childhood-onset asthma), atopic dermatitis, or IgE levels in people with and without any of the four genetic changes associated with lower levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the form of vitamin D routinely measured in the blood. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Melanoma, Technology / 27.04.2017 Interview with: Laura Korb Ferris, MD, PhD Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh Clinical and Translational Science Institute Director of Clinical Trials Department of Dermatology University of Pittsburgh Medical Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We found that a non-invasive adhesive patch applied to the skin over a pigmented skin lesion allowed us to capture enough genetic material from the lesion to analyze and predict if that lesion is likely to be melanoma, meaning a biopsy is warranted, or if it is likely benign, meaning the patient would not need a skin biopsy. In this study, we asked dermatologists to use their clinical judgement to decide if they would recommend biopsying a skin lesion based on photos and information about the lesion and the patients, such as the patient's age, personal and family history of skin cancer, and if the lesion was new or changing. We then provided them the read out of the gene test and asked them how this influence their decision. We found that with this test result, dermatologists were more accurate in their decision making, meaning they were more likely to recommend biopsy of melanomas and less likely to biopsy harmless moles than they were without the test. This is important as it means this test has the potential to reduce the number of unnecessary skin biopsies performed, saving patients from undergoing a procedure and having a scar as a result, without increasing the risk of missing a melanoma. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Orthopedics, Stem Cells / 22.04.2017 with: Lee Buckler, CEO RepliCel Life Sciences What is the background for this your company, Response: RepliCel Life Sciences is a Canadian regenerative medicine company based in Vancouver, British Columbia that was founded in 2006. The company focuses on the development of cell therapies using a patient's own cells (autologous cell therapy). It is developing treatments targeted at healing chronic tendon injuries that have failed to heal properly, hair restoration, and the treatment of damaged and aged skin. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Dermatology / 21.04.2017 Interview with: Jessica S. Mounessa, BS University of Colorado School of Medicine Aurora, Colorado and Robert Dellavalle, MD, PhD, MSPH Professor of Dermatology and Public Health University of Colorado School of Medicine Colorado School of Public Health Chief, Dermatology Service US Department of Veterans Affairs Eastern Colorado Health Care System Denver, CO 80220 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: One in 10 adult cannabis users in the U.S. use it for medicinal purposes. Medicinal cannabis is well studied for its uses in chronic pain, anorexia, and nausea. Numerous recent studies have highlighted other medicinal uses for cannabinoids and related compounds. We conducted a comprehensive review of the literature on the potential role of cannabinoids in conditions affecting the skin. Our study reveals the potential benefit of topically prepared cannabinoid compounds, especially for pruritus and eczema.  For example, creams containing Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), which enhances cannabinoid-receptor binding, have been successful in relieving itch both in the literature, and anecdotally in our clinics. Though not strictly considered an endocannabinoid, as it does not directly bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors, PEA works by enhancing endocannabinoid binding to these receptors.** Furthermore, the majority of the cannabinoid compounds we studied did not contain psychoactive effects. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Technology / 17.04.2017 Interview with: Paul J.D. Whiteside, doctoral candidate and Dr. Heather Hunt, assistant professor of bioengineering University of Missouri What is the background for this technology? What are the barriers to the use of conventional laser treatment of tattoos? Response: Traditional laser treatments rely on the concept of selective photothermolysis (laser-induced heating) to specifically target certain structures for treatment, while leaving other parts of the skin unaffected. The problem with traditional laser treatments is that the laser needs to transmit through the epidermis, which acts as a barrier to laser transmission both due to its reflective properties and because it is filled with light-absorbing melanin, the pigment that gives our skin its color. Sonoillumination acts to change the properties of the epidermis temporarily using painless ultrasound technology, thereby allowing more laser light to penetrate deeper into the skin to impact desired targets, such as hair follicles, tattoos, and blood vessels. Funding for clinical trials is currently being sought to provide evidence for what we surmise may be benefits of this technology relative to traditional laser treatments. These benefits may include being able to treat darker-skinned people more effectively, being able to provide laser therapy with less risk of scarring or pigment changes, and being able to do treatments with less discomfort, fewer treatments, and lower laser energy settings. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Genetic Research / 17.04.2017 Interview with: Akio Kihara, PhD. Laboratory of Biochemistry Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hokkaido University Sapporo, Japan What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The skin barrier is the most powerful defensive mechanism terrestrial animals possess against pathogens and harmful substances such as allergens and pollutants. Recent studies indicate that lipids play a central role in skin barrier formation. Multi-lamellar structures consisting of lipids are formed extracellularly in the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of epidermis, and their high hydrophobicity prevents the invasion of external pathogens and compounds. The stratum corneum-specific lipid acylceramide is especially important for skin barrier formation. Decreases in acylceramide levels are associated with cutaneous disorders such as ichthyosis and atopic dermatitis. However, the mechanism behind acylceramide production is poorly understood, especially regarding the last step of acylceramide production: i.e., esterification of ω-hydroxyceramide with linoleic acid. This means that the broader picture of the molecular mechanisms behind skin barrier formation still remained unclear. Although PNPLA1 has been identified as an ichthyosis-causative gene, its function in skin barrier formation remains unresolved. In the present study, we revealed that PNPLA1 catalyzes the last step of acylceramide synthesis. Our finding completes our knowledge of the entire pathway of the acylceramide production, providing important insights into the molecular mechanisms of skin barrier formation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Smoking / 11.04.2017 Interview with: Jacob P. Thyssen MD, PhD, DmSci Department of Dermatology and Allergy Herlev and Gentofte Hospital University of Copenhagen Hellerup, Denmark What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Atopic dermatitis has been associated with various comorbidities. With the emergence of biologics for the treatment of atopic dermatitis, the hypothesis has been raised that atopic dermatitis is a systemic immune disease affecting more than just the skin. (more…)
Author Interviews, Boehringer Ingelheim, Dermatology, Eli Lilly, Immunotherapy, J&J-Janssen, Merck / 30.03.2017 Eric Hughes Global Development Franchise Head Immunology & Dermatology Novartis What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Psoriasis is a chronic immune-mediated inflammatory disease that negatively impacts patients’ quality of life (QOL); therefore QOL outcomes are increasingly recognized as an important measure of efficacy in psoriasis, complementing traditional measures of severity such as the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI). Secukinumab, a fully human monoclonal antibody that selectively neutralizes interleukin-17A (IL-17A), exhibits significant efficacy in the treatment of moderate-to-severe psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis, demonstrating a rapid onset of action and a favorable safety profile. Biologic therapies for psoriasis have previously been associated with a fall-off in efficacy over time; accordingly, extended follow-up is required to adequately evaluate novel therapeutic strategies like IL-17A inhibition. Recently, results from the extension of the SCULPTURE secukinumab trial showed that high responses initially achieved with secukinumab at year 1 in the SCULPTURE study were sustained over time up to 3 years with no new or unexpected safety concerns. In this analysis, we examined whether the sustained efficacy observed in SCULPTURE up to 3 years was translated into sustained effect of secukinumab on patient’s QOL measured by the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) questionnaire. SCULPTURE, a multi-center extension study, was conducted with subjects who completed 52 weeks of treatment. Subjects were randomized into two maintenance dosing regimens; a fixed-interval schedule of secukinumab 300 mg every 4 weeks (Fixed interval dosing regimen (FI) cohort), and secukinumab retreatment-as-needed (Retreatment as needed (RAN) cohort), in which subjects received placebo until start of relapse, at which time secukinumab 300 mg every 4 weeks was re-initiated. The analysis using as-observed data showed that at Year 3, improvements in the total score on DLQI was well sustained in both FI and RAN cohorts. Approximately two-thirds of the subjects in the FI cohort reported no impact of skin disease on QOL (corresponding to a score of 0 or 1 on DLQI). The proportion of patients in the RAN cohort reporting no impact of the disease on their QOL was well sustained through 3 years but remained consistently lower than those observed in the FI cohort. The results for each subscale of the DLQI questionnaire were consistent with those with DLQI total score i.e. showing high and sustained proportions of patients reporting no impact of the disease on different domains of health-related QOL in the two secukinumab cohorts with greater effect in the FI cohort compared to the RAN cohort. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Dermatology, JAMA / 30.03.2017 Interview with: Prof. Dr. Maja Mockenhaupt Dept. of Dermatology Medical Center - University of Freiburg Deutschland / Germany What is the background for this study? Response: Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis (SJS/TEN) are severe cutaneous adverse reactions that are associated with high morbidity and mortality. Primarily due to their rareness, therapeutic effects are often studied in observational settings. An evidence-based standardized treatment protocol for SJS/TEN is still missing. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Immunotherapy / 29.03.2017 Interview with: Emma Guttman, MD, PhD Professor, Dermatology, Medicine and Clinical Immunology Vice Chair of Research in the Dermatology Department Director of the center for Excellence Eczema in the Occupational/Contact Dermatitis clinic Director of the Laboratory of Inflammatory Skin Diseases Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center New York Would you briefly explain what is meant by atopic dermatitis? How many people are affected by this disorder? Response: Atopic dermatitis or eczema as most people know it is an itchy red scaly skin disorder characterized by a very severe itch, that disrupts daily activities, and sleep and severely impairs the quality of life of patients. In the US 30 million people are affected by it, and 1/3 of these we expect to be moderate to severe. What is the background for Dupilumab therapy? How does it differ from emollients, steroids or topical immunomodulator treatments for eczema ie Protopic? Response: The background is that we currently do not have good treatments for long term use for our moderate to severe patients. The only approved drug by the FDA for atopic dermatitis in the US is oral prednisone, that has many long term side effects and causes disease rebound upon discontinuation. Other treatments with many side effects are broad immune suppressants--Cyclopsorin A, Mycophenolate mofetyl and phototherapy that is not feasible for most patients. Thus there is a large unmet need for safer and better treatments for moderate to severe atopic dermatitis patients. Dupilumab is different since it only targets one immune axis--Th2 axis, providing a safer alternative, with high efficacy, that is equal or even better than cyclosporin A, that is the current gold standard immune suppressant, and harbors many side effects including permanent effects on the kidneys after long term use. Topical treatments, while useful for mild patients, are often not adequate or sufficient to control moderate to severe patients that usually have more than 10% body surface area involved and need a systemic treatment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Boehringer Ingelheim, Dermatology, Immunotherapy / 29.03.2017 Interview with: Eric Hughes, Global Head of Development, Immunology & Dermatology Novartis Pharma AG Basel, Switzerland What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It is well established that psoriasis negatively affects quality of life and work productivity. However, how the treatments affect psoriasis severity (based on skin clearance, itch, pain and scaling symptoms), health-related quality of life (HRQOL), work productivity, and daily activity directly or indirectly (via other factors) are still largely unknown. Secukinumab, a fully human monoclonal antibody that selectively neutralizes interleukin-17A (IL-17A), exhibits significant efficacy in the treatment of moderate-to-severe psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis, demonstrating a rapid onset of action and a favorable safety profile. In CLEAR, a Phase 3b head-to-head study versus ustekinumab, secukinumab demonstrated sustained superior efficacy in clearing skin through Week 52, greater improvement in symptoms and HRQOL, greater relief of work and activity limitations, and a comparable safety profile. In this sub-analysis of the CLEAR study, Novartis was interested in examining the relationships among multiple variables that are thought to be important to patients with psoriasis. The direct and indirect (i.e. mediated) effects of treatment (secukinumab or ustekinumab) on psoriasis severity and patients’ HRQOL, work productivity, and daily activity were examined. The evaluation was conducted using structural equation modeling (or path analysis) and compared these relationships for secukinumab versus ustekinumab at 16 and 52 weeks. Structural equation modeling or path analysis is a statistical method that models the direct and indirect relationship between multiple patient-relevant outcomes simultaneously. Goodness-of-fit statistics for all models were excellent confirming the robustness of the results. Results at Week 16 and at Week 52 for different Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) response categories (e.g. PASI 75, PASI 90, PASI 100) indicated that psoriasis treatment indirectly affected HRQOL and work productivity and daily activity, measured with the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) and the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment (WPAI) questionnaires, respectively. Actually, greater effect of secukinumab over ustekinumab on DLQI was mediated by greater improvement of secukinumab in PASI response as well as by greater improvement in psoriasis-related symptoms (itch, pain and scaling). Greater effect of secukinumab over ustekinumab on work productivity and daily activity was mediated by greater improvement of secukinumab in psoriasis-related symptoms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Environmental Risks, Melanoma / 27.03.2017 Interview with: Matthew Reynolds Acting Team Lead, Office of Communication Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Chamblee GA What is the background for this study? Response: Indoor tanning and sunburns, particularly during adolescence and young adulthood, increases the risk of developing skin cancer. Researchers examined trends in the prevalence of indoor tanning and the relationship between indoor tanning and sunburn among US high school students. Pooled cross-sectional data from the 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015 national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. The study included nationally representative samples of U.S. high school students. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Dermatology, Pediatrics / 26.03.2017 Interview with: Dr. Jonathan L. Silverberg MD PhD MPH Assistant Professor in Dermatology Medical Social Sciences and Preventive Medicine Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois What is the background for this study? Response: Stevens-Johnson syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (SJS/TEN) are relatively rare and potentially life-threatening disorders. There have been some recent advances in our understanding of the epidemiology and risk factors of SJS/TEN in adults. However, little is known about the epidemiology of pediatric SJS/TEN. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Orthopedics / 26.03.2017 Interview with: Dr. Jonathan L. Silverberg MD PhD MPH Assistant Professor in Dermatology Medical Social Sciences and Preventive Medicine Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois Response: Psoriasis is associated with a number of potential risk factors for developing osteoporosis and pathological fractures, including including low vitamin D, chronic inflammation, higher rates of cigarette smoking and systemic corticosteroid usage. We hypothesized that adults with psoriasis have higher rates of osteoporosis and pathological fractures. We examined data from the 2002-2012 National Inpatient Sample, which contains a representative 20% sample of all hospitalizations in the United States. We found that psoriasis was associated with higher odds of osteopenia, osteoporosis, osteomalacia, ankylosing spondylitis, and pathological fractures. In particular, psoriasis was associated with vertebral, pelvic, femoral and tibial/fibular fractures. The associations between psoriasis and pathological fractures were more pronounced in women than men. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Dermatology / 26.03.2017 Interview with: Dr. Jonathan L. Silverberg MD PhD MPH Assistant Professor in Dermatology Medical Social Sciences and Preventive Medicine Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Atopic dermatitis (AD) is associated with considerable morbidity and quality of life impairment. AD patients may require hospitalization for acute treatment of serious flares and/or inadequately controlled chronic disease. We examined data from the 2002-2012 National Inpatient Sample, which contains a representative 20% sample of all hospitalizations in the United States. We found that there were substantial numbers of children and adults hospitalized in the United States for AD. Hospitalization rates for atopic dermatitis were highest in the northeast during the winter likely due to cold and dry weather and south during the summer likely due to heat and humidity. Further, hospitalization rates for AD significantly increased in adults between 2002 and 2012. The costs per individual hospitalization were lower in children and adults with AD compared to those without  atopic dermatitis. However, the high prevalence of hospitalization resulted in total inpatient costs of >$8 and >$3 million per-year for adults and children, respectively. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology / 23.03.2017 Interview with: Usha Nagavarapu, PhD Senior director of preclinical drug development BioPharmX What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Acne vulgaris is a complex chronic inflammatory disease known to be linked with P. acnes and can have profound social and psychological effects. Though a number of treatments exist, there is promise of a long-term benefit for acne patients. BioPharmX’s in vitro and in vivo studies have revealed that a low-dose, topical 1% minocycline gel (BPX-01) provided a localized and targeted delivery of adequate minocycline to the epidermis and pilosebaceous units that can potentially limit systemic exposure and may reduce treatment related side effects. At the intended clinical dose, toxicity and safety animal studies found that BPX-01 was well tolerated with no significant local or systemic toxic effects. A comparative animal study with oral minocycline demonstrated that topical application of minocycline can limit systemic exposure while delivering sufficient minocycline to the skin to treat acne vulgaris. Along the same lines, a 4-week clinical study with extended release oral minocycline to assess the skin and plasma concentrations of minocycline was conducted. A marked reduction of mean acne lesion counts from baseline was seen with oral minocycline with presence in plasma. On the contrary no minocycline was identified in the skin from periauricular biopsies. Recently, BioPharmX completed a 4-week Phase 2 clinical repeat-dose study of BPX-01. The minocycline gel was well tolerated and over 90% of P. acnes were eliminated. A 12-week Phase 2 dose-finding clinical trial to further assess the efficacy and safety of BPX-01 for the treatment of moderate-to-severe, non-nodular inflammatory acne vulgaris has been initiated. The dose-finding study will provide additional support for the planned Phase 3 clinical trial program with BPX-01. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, UCLA / 19.03.2017 Interview with: Madalene Heng MD, FRACP, FACD, FAAD Professor of Medicine/Dermatology UCLA School of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Curcumin, the active ingredient in the spice, turmeric, is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent with unique healing properties. However, this is only observed with our preparation of topical curcumin but not with oral curcumin. This is because curcumin is not absorbed and does not cross cell membranes - low bioavailability. The biochemical basis for the efficacy of topical curcumin is based on the fact that it is a phosphorylase kinase inhibitor. Phosphorylase kinase is an enzyme released by injured tissue 5 mins following injury, and is responsible for activating the transcription activator (NF-kB), resulting in turning on over 200 genes responsible for inflammation, and scarring among others, resulting in redness, swelling, pain, and eventually scarring. By blocking phosphorylase kinase activity early in the injury pathway, topical curcumin (curcumin gel) results in rapid healing with minimal or no scarring following many types of healing, including burns and scalds. The unique healing properties are also due to the fact that curcumin induces cell death (apoptosis) to damaged cells, resulting in the "space" for replacement by new healthy cells, resulting in normal appearing skin following burns and scalds. The salutary result depends on when the curcumin gel is applied - the earlier the better. We observed that when curcumin gel was applied within 4 days to second degree burns- hourly applications, tapering after the patient is improved - we observed rapid healing within 5 days, with the skin returning to normal within 6 weeks to 2 months without redness or visible scarring. Minor burns and scalds heal even more rapidly. Pain was improved within hours. What should readers take away from your report? Response: If the readers happen to have curcumin gel (Psoria-Gold) in their first aid kit, they should apply curcumin gel multiple times as soon as possible. Within the first hour, they should apply it every 5-10 mins, tapering off when the pain and swelling is improved. If they do this, it is possible that blistering may be aborted. The scarring is also minimal. The curcumin gel should be applied twice daily until the skin returns to normal (no redness, swelling, pigmentation etc) and no visible scarring is seen. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA / 17.03.2017 Interview with: Dr. Alex M. Glazer MD National Society for Cutaneous Medicine New York, New York What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We had previously studied the geographic distribution of dermatologists throughout the United States which revealed that dermatologists are unevenly geographically distributed throughout the country, with many regions having fewer than the 4 providers per 100,000 people needed to adequately care for a population. Because of the influx of PAs and NPs into the healthcare workforce throughout the past decade, we wanted to see how these providers were supplementing dermatologic care. The main finding of our study is that dermatology PAs are helping to supplement dermatologists and together are providing broader, more uniform coverage across the United States (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Dermatology, Education, Environmental Risks, JAMA / 16.03.2017 Interview with: Sherry Everett Jones PhD, MPH, JD, FASHA Health Scientist, Division of Adolescent School Health Centers for Disease Control & Prevention What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Results from the School Health Policies and Practices Study found that in 2014, most schools lacked practices that could protect children and adolescents from sun exposure while at school. Positive attitudes and beliefs about sun safety behavior, which would make such behavior more likely, can be promoted and supported by school system policies and practices. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Pediatrics, Smoking, Tobacco Research / 15.03.2017 Interview with: Dr. Saskia Trump PhD Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ Department of Environmental Immunology Leipzig, Germany What is the background for this study? Response: Environmental chemicals have long been discussed to contribute to the exacerbation or even the development of allergic diseases. In our study we were particularly interested in the effect of tobacco smoke exposure, which is the main source for indoor benzene exposure, on regulatory T cell (Treg) function and its relation to the development of childhood atopic dermatitis (AD). Tregs play a critical in controlling T effector cell activity by avoiding overexpression. A deficiency in this T cell subset increases the risk for allergic inflammation. We have previously described that exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy can decrease the number of regulatory T cells (Treg) in the cord blood and predispose the child to the development of AD (1). In this subsequent study we were interested in the underlying mechanism involved. Benzene itself is not considered to be toxic, however its metabolization leads to the formation of highly reactive molecules. In humans for example the metabolite 1,4-benzochinone (1,4-BQ) can be found in the blood as a consequence of benzene exposure. To further assess the effect of benzene on Treg and the development of AD we combined in vitro studies, evaluating the impact of 1,4-BQ on human expanded Treg, with data from our prospective mother-child cohort LINA. The LINA study, recruited in Leipzig, Germany, is a longitudinal evaluation of mother-child pairs with respect to lifestyle and environmental factors that might contribute to disease development in the child. Based on this deeply phenotyped cohort we were able to translate our in vitro findings to the in vivo scenario. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology / 11.03.2017 Interview with: Hywel C. Williams DSc, FMedSci, NIHR Senior Investigator Director of the NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme Professor of Dermato-Epidemiology and Co-Director of the Centre of Evidence-Based Dermatology, University of Nottingham Queen’s Medical Centre Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Pemphigoid is a potentially serious skin condition characterised by the appearance of large tense blisters appearing on the skin. These blisters are itchy and eventually burst, leaving raw areas of skin that can become infected. Pemphigoid is much commoner in the elderly, and is on the increase. It is due to the body’s own immune system attaching certain structures in the skin ie an auto-immune disease. The main treatment for pemphigoid is oral steroids (prednisolone). Prednisolone is usually quite good at clearing the blisters, but when given for long periods as is needed for people with pemphigoid, they cause serious side effects such as diabetes, infection, raised blood pressure and fractures, so safer oral treatments are needed for this disease. Tetracycline antibiotics are one such possible treatment – they have been used by some for pemphigoid for many years, but our Cochrane review did not find any good evidence to show that it works. So we applied to the UK National Institute of Health Research Health Technology Programme to do a definitive evaluation of treating pemphigoid with one of the tetracyclines called doxycycline. We tested the strategy of staring patients with pemphigoid with doxycycline versus standard treatment with oral prednisolone. If those starting on doxycycline did not achieve good enough control, they could switch to prednisolone as would happen in clinical practice. Our main outcomes were blister control at 6 weeks, and severe, life threatening and fatal treatment related adverse events at 52 weeks. The study was designed as a non-inferiority study – by that we mean that we never expected doxycycline to be as good as prednisolone for blister control, so we agreed to put up with a degree of lower effectiveness provided that there were clear long term safety gains. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Transplantation / 10.03.2017 Interview with: Christina Lee Chung, MD, FAAD Associate Professor of Dermatology Director, Center for Transplant Patients Drexel University College of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It’s long been recognized immunosuppressed organ transplant recipients are at significantly increased risk for skin cancer and other types of skin disease. But despite advances to improve skin cancer prevention for these patients, little is known about how skin conditions affect African-American, Asian and Hispanic transplant recipients. This is problematic given that, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than half of the 120,000 Americans on the waiting list for organs identify as nonwhite. We compared medical records of 412 organ transplant recipients — including 154 white patients and 258 nonwhite (black, Asian or Hispanic) — who were referred to the Drexel Dermatology Center for Transplant Patients between 2011 and 2016. As one of the only models of its kind in the country, the center provides post-transplant dermatological care to every patient who is transplanted by and/or followed by the Drexel University and Hahnemann University Hospital Transplant Programs. That means that every patient, regardless of race, is screened annually for skin cancer, which provided a unique dataset for us to analyze. Two hundred eighty-nine transplant recipients exhibited malignant, infectious or inflammatory conditions during their evaluation, but their primary acute diagnoses differed greatly by race. In 82 white patients, skin cancer was the most common acute problem requiring attention at first visit. Black and Hispanic patients, by contrast, were most often diagnosed with inflammatory or infectious processes, such as fungal infections, warts, eczema, psoriasis, and rashes that required immediate medical attention. Overall, squamous cell carcinoma in situ was the most common type of skin cancer diagnosed in each racial or ethnic group. But the location of the cancerous lesions again depended on the race of the patient. Most lesions in white and Asian patients occurred in sun-exposed areas of the body, like the scalp, neck, chest and back. For black patients, the lesions were primarily found in the groin.  Moreover, six of the nine lesions found on black patients tested positive for high-risk HPV strains, suggesting an association between the virus and skin cancer for African Americans. We also provided questionnaires to 66 organ transplant recipients to find out more about the patients’ awareness of skin cancer prevention. Seventy-seven percent of white patients were aware their skin cancer risk was increased, compared to 68 percent of nonwhites. Only 11 percent of nonwhite patients reported having regular dermatologic examinations, compared to 36 percent of whites. Finally, 45 percent of white patients but only 25 percent of nonwhite reported knowing the signs of skin cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Boehringer Ingelheim, Dermatology, Pharmacology / 08.03.2017 Interview with: Andrew Blauvelt, M.D., M.B.A. President and Investigator Oregon Medical Research Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Findings from the Phase 3 VOYAGE 1 study showed that patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis receiving guselkumab, an human anti-interleukin (IL)-23 monoclonal antibody, achieved significant improvement in skin clearance and in comparison with Humira® (adalimumab), a TNF blocker.  The Phase 3 study and head-to-head analysis of guselkumab vs. adalimumab showed the significant and durable efficacy of guselkumab as maintained through one year when compared with adalimumab, and the robust efficacy of this novel IL-23 targeted therapy in meeting all primary and major secondary endpoints. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Dermatology, Environmental Risks, JAMA, Melanoma / 07.03.2017 Interview with: Gery P. Guy Jr., PhD, MPH Senior Health Economist Division of Unintentional Injury CDC What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The incidence of skin cancer is increasing in the United States, and individuals who indoor tan are at an increased risk of skin cancer. Treating skin cancer costs $8.1 billion annually. The number of high school students who indoor tan dropped by half from 2009 to 2015. In 2015, 1.2 million high school students indoor tanned, down from 2.5 million in 2009. This is a much bigger decrease than we have seen in the past and is an encouraging finding. We also found that 82% of indoor tanners reported sunburn in the past year compared with 54% of those who did not engage in indoor tanning. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Global Health, JAMA / 07.03.2017 Interview with: Chante Karimkhani, MD University Hospitals Case Western Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio now with Department of Dermatology University of Colorado, Denver What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Ranging from benign inflammatory to infectious, autoimmune, and malignant conditions, skin diseases cause significant disfigurement, pain, and psychological morbidity. The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study 2013 is a large-scale epidemiological assessment of burden from 306 diseases in 195 countries, both sexes, and 14 age groups. Disease burden is measured by combining morbidity and mortality into a single metric of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), where one DALY is equivalent to one year of healthy life lost. Skin diseases contributed 1.79% of the total global burden from all diseases. The skin diseases arranged in order of decreasing global DALYs are: dermatitis (atopic, contact, seborrheic), acne vulgaris, urticaria, psoriasis, viral skin diseases, fungal skin diseases, fungal skin diseases, scabies, melanoma, pyoderma, cellulitis, keratinocyte carcinoma (basal and squamous cell carcinomas), decubitus ulcer, and alopecia areata. Younger populations had the greatest burden from infectious skin conditions, while acne caused the greatest burden in the second and third decades of life. Elderly populations had the greatest DALY rates from melanoma and keratinocyte carcinoma. Skin conditions also exhibit distinct geographical patterns of disease burden. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Rheumatology / 01.03.2017 Interview with: Lihi Eder MD PhD Rheumatologist, Women’s College Hospital Scientist, Women’s College Research Institute Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto Toronto, ON, Canada What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There significant delays in the diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis (PsA) among patients with psoriasis. Many patients with psoriasis experience musculoskeletal symptoms. The majority of them do not have PsA, but other non-inflammatory conditions such as fibromyalgia or osteoarthritis. In this study, we aimed to assess whether the presence and the degree of musculoskeletal symptoms in psoriasis patients predict the development of psoriatic arthritis. We analyzed a cohort of 410 psoriasis patients who were followed over a period of 9 years. These patients did not have arthritis at baseline. The patients were assessed annually by a rheumatologist for signs of PsA. A total of 57 patients developed psoriatic arthritis during the follow-up period. (more…)