Posts for: September, 2014
Recent research suggests that military personnel are at higher risk of skin cancer compared to the general population. Research from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine shows that while 77 percent of military personnel reported prolonged exposure to sunlight, only 27 percent had regular access to sunscreen. Allan Harrington, MD, from the Skin Cancer Foundation says. “Since sun exposure causes the vast majority of skin cancer cases, it’s imperative for our men and women in uniform to be armed with the tools they need to practice proper sun protection.”
An article in the New York Times, dogs may have the ability to smell subtle chemical differences between healthy and cancerous tissues, including those in bladder cancer, melanoma, breast cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer. At the Working Dog Center, dogs are trained not only in police work, but also in ovarian cancer detection. Dr. Cindy Otto, founder and executive director of the Working Dog Center, says “We don’t ever anticipate our dogs walking through a clinic, but we do hope that they will help refine chemical and nanosensing techniques for cancer detection.”
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, rates of melanoma have been increasing for the past 30 years. By 2015, it is estimated that 1 in 50 Americans will develop melanoma in their lifetime. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted accelerated approval to pembrolizumab (Keytruda) for the treatment of melanoma unable to be surgically removed, reports the Dermatology Times. Keytruda is the sixth new melanoma treatment approved since 2011. Preliminary clinical evidence suggests that Keytruda is an improvement over current drugs targeting melanoma. Keytruda is the first melanoma drug to block a cellular pathway known at PD-1, allowing the immune system to attack cancerous cells. While the preliminary results are encouraging, more research must be done to determine if Keytruda enhances the survival rate of patients with advanced melanoma.
According to a recent news release, researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have recently identified immune cells responsible for destroying hair follicles. After investigators found that ruxolitinib, restored hair in mice that experienced extensive hair loss from alopecia areata, researchers initiated a small, open-label clinical trial of the drug in humans. Ruxolitinib, which is FDA approved for the treatment of myelofibrosis, demonstrated complete hair regrowth in three patients within four to five months after starting the treatment. “We still need to do more testing to establish that ruxolitinib should be used in alopecia areata, but this is exciting news for patients,” said Raphael Clynes, M.D., Ph.D., a cellular immunologist at Columbia University Medical Center and head of the research team.
According to an article in HealthDay, the US Food and Drug Administration reports that our greater understanding of Psoriasis has led to more patient-specific treatment options. Doctors and patients now have a wide variety of factors to consider, including effectiveness, severity of the disease, lifestyle, and other risk factors. Because there is no cure for psoriasis, the primary goal of therapy is to reduce inflammation and stop skin cell overproduction. Doctors tweak their therapies through a step-by-step approach, typically starting with topical therapy for mild cases of psoriasis and moving onto stronger phototherapy or drug treatment for more severe cases. According to FDA dermatologist Dr. Melinda McCord, “Tomorrow's treatments will become even more personalized because the drugs in development now are targeting different aspects of the immune system.”