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    Research advances yield new treatments for skin disease


    Microbial influence

    Over the past decade, researchers also have discovered how microbial flora in the human microbiome impact health and disease. "We've known for many years that superinfection exacerbates atopic dermatitis (AD). Investigators are now studying how microbial flora on the skin and in the gut may be affecting disease. Does the gut flora have anything to do with AD expression? And is there a way to replenish the normal flora in AD?"

    ALSO READ: Trending therapies for atopic dermatitis

    The microbiome also influences human physiology, determining whether a person is fat or thin, Dr. Katz says. It can also be manipulated to prevent or treat Clostridium difficile infections by performing fecal transplants in patients with recalcitrant disease.

    Autoinflammatory diseases defined by NIH experts in the past 15 years include familial Mediterranean fever (FMF), neonatal-onset multi-system inflammatory disease (NOMID), deficiency of the interleukin (IL)-1 receptor antagonist (DIRA) and others.

    "These diseases are characterized by neutrophilic inflammatory infiltrates in the skin. Not only have the genes responsible for these diseases been defined, but most have been shown to involve the IL-1 pathway. We also have treatments for many of these diseases." These treatments work by inhibiting the IL-1β pathway, Dr. Katz says.

    NEXT: Psoriasis and metastatic melanoma

    John Jesitus
    John Jesitus is a medical writer based in Westminster, CO.


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