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American Academy of Dermatology, Feb. 1-5, 2008

The American Academy of Dermatology's 66th Annual Meeting

The American Academy of Dermatology's 66th Annual Meeting convened in San Antonio, Texas, from Feb. 1-5, 2008, and included nearly 7,000 attendees from around the world. Topics presented including promising novel therapeutic strategies for psoriasis, insights into the genetic basis of eczema, surgical techniques to minimize scarring after facial skin cancer excisions, and laser resurfacing procedures to restore the appearance of aging skin.

A highlight of the meeting was the presentation of new biologic treatments for psoriasis. Humira (adalimumab), a tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-blocker, recently received FDA approval for the treatment of severe plaque psoriasis, joining other anti-TNF drugs Enbrel (etanercept) and Remicade (infliximab) as highly efficacious approved therapies. In addition, other promising biologic therapies are on the horizon. "We have a new class of drugs that target cytokines IL-12 and IL-23, and we have really seen some remarkable results in clinical trials with these drugs," said Liz Horn, Ph.D., director of research at the National Psoriasis Foundation in Portland, Ore.

Ustekinumab, a new monoclonal antibody targeting IL-12 and IL-23, is in development and likely to be approved next year, said Mark Lebwohl, M.D., a dermatologist at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City. "It is probably the most effective treatment that I have ever seen for psoriasis," he commented. In a recent phase II trial, a single injection of ustekinumab led to skin clearance in 63 percent of patients, and so far there are no reports of alarming side effects, said Lebwohl. These biologic agents, which appear to be better tolerated than many other systemic treatments for psoriasis, are likely to become first-line agents in patients with severe disease.

The meeting also included presentations on new laser skin resurfacing procedures used to treat wrinkles, photodamage and other age-related skin changes, which are milder and require less downtime than previously used techniques. "Today, patients are interested in gentler skin rejuvenation options than those used previously, such as the CO2 laser, and will trade less dramatic results for less downtime and few, if any, side effects," said dermatologist Jeffrey S. Dover, M.D., of Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

For example, fractional laser skin resurfacing is a versatile new modality that targets microscopic areas of damaged skin. "One of the main benefits of fractional laser resurfacing is that it stimulates the production of new collagen during the body's natural healing process," Dover explained. "Not only does the treated skin look better after a series of three to six treatments, but it also improves gradually as the new collagen forms -- with optimal results clearly noticeable in about four to six months."

AAD: Remicade Beneficial in Severe Psoriasis

TUESDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, treatment with the TNFα inhibitor Remicade (infliximab) leads to substantial clinical improvement, with more than half of patients treated at the higher dose experiencing nearly complete skin clearance, according to research presented this week at the American Academy of Dermatology's 66th Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

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AAD: Transplant Recipients Unaware of Skin Cancer Risk

TUESDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Most organ transplant recipients are not aware of their heightened risk of developing skin cancer, which is due primarily to required immunosuppressive medications. Patient education efforts are needed to raise awareness about skin cancer risk and prevention in order to reduce the high incidence of skin cancer in the transplant population, according to research presented this week at the American Academy of Dermatology's 66th Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

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AAD: Genetic Defect in Skin Barrier Tied to Eczema

MONDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- A genetic defect in the skin's protective outer later that allows microbes, allergens and other irritants to penetrate the skin likely underlies atopic dermatitis and may contribute to the development of food allergies, according to research presented this week at the American Academy of Dermatology's 66th Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

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AAD: Common Flower Extract May Treat Plantar Warts

MONDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Extracts from marigolds, a common garden flower, have shown promise in eradicating plantar warts, even among HIV-positive patients, in whom warts are usually harder to treat, according to research presented at the American Academy of Dermatology's 66th Annual Meeting this week in San Antonio, Texas.

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AAD: Techniques Lessen Scars After Skin Cancer Surgery

MONDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Innovations in dermatological surgical techniques are providing patients with more options to minimize the appearance of facial scars after skin cancer surgery, according to research presented at the American Academy of Dermatology's 66th Annual Meeting this week in San Antonio, Texas.

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