Bob Roehr is a medical writer based in Washinton, D.C.
Research sheds light on inflammatory mechanism of sunburnSeptember 1st 2012
Ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation damage to noncoding RNAs in keratinocytes initiates a cascade of events leading to the release of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), a cytokine central to the inflammatory skin response commonly known as sunburn. The surprising discovery of this mechanism has potential implications for better understanding of prevention, carcinogenesis and phototherapy, researchers say.
Vismodegib effective against basal cell nevus syndromeAugust 1st 2012
The hedgehog inhibitor drug vismodegib (Erivedge, Genentech/Roche), approved in January to treat advanced and metastatic basal cell carcinoma, has demonstrated potent clinical activity when used in patients with basal cell nevus syndrome, according to a study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Attenuating chemical signals in fibrotic process may reduce scarring in humansJuly 1st 2012
New research has identified the signaling pathway through which mechanical forces play a major role in the fibrotic process of wound healing and scarring. Modulating this pathway in mice significantly reduced scarring and may offer a therapeutic target to reduce scarring in humans, says Geoffrey C. Gurtner, M.D.
Dermatologists land at top of national list of most satisfied physiciansJuly 1st 2012
Dermatologists have the highest level of job satisfaction of 25 medical specialties, according to a national survey conducted by Medscape titled Physician Compensation Report 2012. Dermatologists also are among the better compensated, particularly when their more-varied pattern of hours worked are taken into consideration.
Research advances may target varicose vein therapiesJuly 1st 2012
A single intracellular molecule, activator protein-1 (AP-1), appears to initiate the signaling cascade for vascular remodeling that results in varicose veins. Assuming that these findings on the mechanisms of the disease in a mouse model translate into humans, they offer new targets for therapeutic intervention that go beyond current surgical options, a researcher says.
Virus a culprit? Merkel cell pathogen linked to up to a third of SCC tumorsNovember 1st 2009
The Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV), first identified in rare aggressive Merkel cell carcinoma in 2008, has now been isolated in up to a third of patients with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), according to a new study published online in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
Researching morphea: UV-A1 phototherapy recommended for darker-skinned patientsOctober 1st 2009
World report - Darker-skinned patients with morphea and related diseases are as likely to benefit from ultraviolet (UV) light therapy as patients with lighter skin. Some clinicians had speculated that the increased level of melanin found in darker skin might impede UV-A1, but that does not appear to be the case.
Pet vectors: MRSA infections transmitted between humans, animalsSeptember 1st 2009
People and their pets are often said to take on the morphology and mannerisms of each other over time. Regardless of whether that is true, it's clear that they do come to share diseases, and, increasingly, that means methicillin-resistant Staphyloccus aureus (MRSA).
Guiding light: Gentle, noninvasive process steers cells, researchers findAugust 1st 2009
The brute force of lasers to kill targeted cells has become an important tool for dermatologists. Now, research presented at an optics conference in June may be opening the door to a gentle, new way to promote healing.
PSMs contribute to viciousness of CA-MRSA, study showsJanuary 1st 2008
Much of the virulence of community-associated methicillin resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA) is caused by phenol-soluble modulin (PSM) peptides, a family of proteins that had not previously been studied in the pathogen. The discovery, published in Nature Medicine, opens the door to a better understanding of the infection and potential new targets for intervention.
The "black box" of how psychological stress increases susceptibility to infection has been unlocked in a study in the mouse model. The mechanism of action is not through the adaptive immune system, as many had thought, but rather through the secretion of endogenous glucocorticoids that in turn affect the production of two key antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) made by the epidermis.
The first active population-based study of invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has found the infection to be more widespread than previously thought. Its publication in JAMA on October 17 triggered massive ongoing "panic" news coverage of the infection, particularly the community-associated (CA) variant.
HPV Vaccination: Clinical IssuesOctober 1st 2006
Gardasil (Merck) is made of virus-like particles - copies of the capsids or the outer shell of the virus; there is no DNA - therefore, it is impossible to become infected with HPV through vaccination. The vaccine stimulates an antibody response to that outer coating of the virus, and is 100 percent protective if administered prior to exposure to the four strains of HPV that it protects against.