Skin problems are the most common adverse effects from new anti-cancer drugs. Ralf Gutzmer, from the Hannover Medical School (MHH), and co-authors now summarize the current state of knowledge in the recent edition of Deutsches Aerzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2012; 109(8): 133-40). Adverse effects of the skin include rashes, nail problems, and the hand-foot syndrome. The substance class of multikinase inhibitors causes such cutaneous adverse effects in up to 34% of patients. The proportion of patients with adverse effects is even higher for the selective kinase inhibitors, such as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors and inhibitors of mutated BRAF, with up to 90% affected, and for immunotherapeutics such as the CTLA-4 antibody, with up to 68% affected. Such adverse effects can be severe, painful, or lead to psychological discomfort due to their localization on visible areas of the body, and this can affect patients' willingness to continue treatment.
Nanoparticles containing chitosan have been shown to have effective antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus saprophyticus and Escherichia coli. The materials could be used as a protective wound-healing material to avoid opportunistic infection as well as working to facilitate wound healing. Chitosan is a natural, non-toxic and biodegradable, polysaccharide readily obtained from chitin, the main component of the shells of shrimp, lobster and the beak of the octopus and squid. Its antimicrobial activity is well known and has been exploited in dentistry to prevent caries and as preservative applications in food packaging. It has even been tested as an additive for antimicrobial textiles used in clothing for healthcare and other workers. Now, Mihaela Leonida of Fairleigh Dickinson University, in Teaneck, New Jersey and colleagues writing in the International Journal of Nano and Biomaterials describe how they have prepared nanoparticles of chitosan that could have potential in preventing infection in wounds as well as enhancing the wound-healing process itself by stimulating skin cell growth.
Spanish scientists have confirmed that there is a clear relationship between androgenetic alopecia (common premature baldness ) and benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), a benign enlargement of the prostate that appears in aging men and is associated with certain hormones as dihydrotestosterone. This condition appears in 50% of men over 60 year old and causes voiding syndrome i.e. urinary frequency. In the light of the study published in the journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, men with premature alopecia are at a higher risk for BPH than the rest of men. This article was awarded the 1st prize at the 68 Annual Conference of the American Academy of Dermatology celebrated in Miami. Androgenetic alopecia is the most common form of baldness, and is more frequent in men than in women.
A new topical gel now available by prescription significantly decreases the amount of time needed to treat actinic keratosis, a skin condition that is a common precursor to skin cancer, according to a multi-center trial led by researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The gel, called ingenol mebutate, is applied to the skin for just a few days, making it quicker and even more effective as current therapies require weeks to months to apply. The Phase III study results of the trial are published in the The New England Journal of Medicine. Actinic keratoses are premalignant skin lesions very common in fair-skinned individuals who always burn and rarely tan. It is the most common precursor to sun-related squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common type of skin cancer. Current topical medications to treat actinic keratosis often causes skin irritation and result in many patients not completing the full treatment regimen.
A research team has identified epigenetic signatures, markers on DNA that control transient changes in gene expression, within reprogrammed skin cells. These signatures can predict the expression of a wound healing protein in reprogrammed skin cells or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), cells that take on embryonic stem cell properties. Understanding how the expression of the protein is controlled brings us one step closer to developing personalized tissue regeneration strategies using stem cells from a patient, instead of using human embryonic stem cells. The study was published in the Journal of Cell Science. When skin cells are reprogrammed, many of their cellular properties are recalibrated as they aquire stem cell properties and then are induced to become skin cells again. In order for these "induced" stem cells to be viable in treatment for humans (tissue regeneration, personalized wound healing therapies, etc.