American Academy of Dermatology's Academy '06, July 26-30, 2006
The American Academy of Dermatology's summer scientific meeting, Academy '06, took place July 26-30 in San Diego and reflected a balance of cosmetic, medical and surgical topics, said Craig Elmets, M.D., the program chair for the meeting and professor and chair of dermatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. One highlight was an introduction by Ron Reagan on stem cells in dermatology, he said. Stem cells will most likely "play an important role" in skin cancer and hair loss treatments, Elmets said.
"I think there was a lot of interest in new laser techniques," he noted, "for facial and other areas, such as the neck, chest and hands."
"There is continuing interest in melanoma," Elmets said, "with talks about what is on the horizon for the diagnosis and treatment of melanoma." Among possible strategies under investigation are small molecules that can target specific proteins that cause melanoma to develop or progress. The hope, he said, is that these molecular targets "could be used as a vaccine or to target proteins that facilitate growth and development of melanoma."
Among the promising developments being researched for the treatment of psoriasis was an antibody to interleukin-2. "It's thought that IL-2 stimulates T-cell development, which causes the skin to hyperproliferate," he explained.
On the topic of cosmetic dermatology, there was also speculation that the new long-lasting filler, Artefill, will probably be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sometime this year, said Marian Northington, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, who attended the meeting. "Artefill is expected to last 10 years or more," she said.
The soft tissue filler is expected to cost about 50 percent more than Restylane, which is typically about $500 to $600 per cc, she said.
On its Web site, San Diego-based Artes Medical, which makes Artefill, calls it a "permanent aesthetic injectable implant." It's meant for the correction of nasolabial folds. It includes a combination of microspheres composed of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), suspended in purified bovine collagen gel and 0.3 percent lidocaine. The application for marketing approval is pending from the FDA.
One other major theme that is emerging is the trend of using biologics, said Hensin Tsao, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School and director of the Melanoma and Pigmented Lesion Center. The use of biologics, such as Enbrel, is beginning to permeate through clinical practice, he said. "It's really picked up in the community. It is being done by more dermatologists."
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