Bob Roehr is a medical writer based in Washinton, D.C.
Research sheds light on inflammatory mechanism of sunburn
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 syndrome
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 humans
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 physicians
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 therapies
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.
Low-level laser irradiation may stimulate proliferation of melanoma cells
A new study supports speculation that exposure to low level laser therapy may stimulate proliferation of melanoma cells.
Virus a culprit? Merkel cell pathogen linked to up to a third of SCC tumors
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 patients
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, animals
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).
Ozone imperils skin: Exposure increases risk of carcinoma, study notes
Human skin cells exposed to the ozone in smog exhibit changes in signaling pathways that put them at increased risk for developing cancer.
Guiding light: Gentle, noninvasive process steers cells, researchers find
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.
Photodynamic therapy: Molecular data confirms anecdotal, clinical evidence of treatment's utility
Information that quantifies our understanding of how PDT works is crucial to optimizing treatment and advancing the field, an expert says.
PSMs contribute to viciousness of CA-MRSA, study shows
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.
Basic research has been building the case for decades of how stress negatively affects human health-from tumor genesis, to immune function, to skin barrier function-but clinical management of these interactions has lagged far behind.
Stress impacts skin
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.
MRSA on the rise
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.
Innovations in treating melanoma
Future interventions that target multiple inhibitory pathways will be the ones most likely to succeed.
D-Day for skin maladies?
Patient's skin treated with topical 1,25D3 showed increased protein expression of TLR2 and cathelicidin, with no evidence of inflammation.
Photodamage's 'perfect storm'
Columbus, Ohio - The most common sun-related damage to skin DNA occurs when ultraviolet (UV) rays strike adjacent thymine molecules, causing them to form a cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer (CPD).
Restylane stimulates collagen production
National report - The dermal filler Restylane (Medicis Aesthetics) appears to stimulate production of collagen in aging and photodamaged skin, according to a study published in the February issue of the Archives of Dermatology.
New approach 'highly effective' in psoriasis tx
National report - A new approach to treating psoriasis targets the inflammatory mediators IL-12 and IL-23 and has proven to be highly effective in a large phase 2 clinical trial.
Heterosexual Transmission of CA-MRSA
National report - Sexual transmission of community-acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) may be an important and underappreciated part of the recent upsurge in infections across the country.
A glimpse behind the scenes of uncommon cancers
Accurate prognostic information's chief value seems to be to either set the patient's mind at rest that metastasis has not occurred, or to alert the patient to put his or her affairs in order.
Arming against MRSA
The vaccine completely protected against two strains and offered 60 percent to 90 percent survival against the other three strains.
The sound of melanoma
Columbia, Mo. - Imagine that metastasizing melanoma cells in circulating blood can be identified by the sound that they make.
Unlocking mechanisms of tanning to master protective effect
National report - The prevailing theory of the process of tanning is that ultraviolet B light (UVB) directly stimulates melanocytes.
Gene therapy success for metastatic melanoma
Bethesda, Md. - Two patients with metastatic melanoma have been cancer-free for almost two years, following the first successful use of gene therapy to cure cancer.
HPV Vaccination: Clinical Issues
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.
Dermatologists and HPV vaccination
National report - "My sister died of cervical cancer," says New Orleans-area dermatologist Patricia Farris, M.D., who has a private practice that is overwhelmingly female.
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