Topical Rapamycin May Hold Promise for Port-Wine Stains

Angiogenesis inhibitor may reduce lesion recurrence following laser treatment

THURSDAY, Jan. 31 (HealthDay News) -- When applied topically to laser-treated skin, the anti-angiogenic drug rapamycin inhibits regeneration of blood vessels, and this fact may prove useful in the treatment of port-wine stains, since regrowth of blood vessels following laser treatment can lead to lesion recurrence, according to an article published online Jan. 25 in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.

Thuy L. Phung, M.D., Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues compared the regeneration of blood vessels following laser-induced damage in the skin of rats and humans treated with laser alone versus those treated with laser plus daily topical rapamycin.

In rats exposed to laser alone, skin blood vessels damaged by the laser exhibited complete reformation and reperfusion within 10 days. However, rats exposed to laser plus topical rapamycin for 14 days did not show reformation and reperfusion of blood vessels. When the researchers tested human skin, they found that dermal blood vessels regrew by 14 days post-irradiation in patients treated with laser alone, but vessel growth was inhibited in laser plus rapamycin-treated skin.

"Based on the results of these preliminary animal and human skin investigations, the wound healing response and revascularization of human skin can indeed be modulated and the effects of laser exposure extended using anti-angiogenic agents such as rapamycin," the authors conclude.

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