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Posts Tagged ‘Dermatology’

Bone Marrow Stem Cells Show Promise for Repairing Skin

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on August 21, 2010

Individuals with a rare skin disease called recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) can improve their condition with the transfer of bone marrow stem cells. A team of medical researchers has found that bone marrow stem cells can effectively treat the disease and help to repair the skin and speed up the healing process. This skin disease cannot be treated with conventional dermatology procedures.

The results of a recent study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in the middle of August 2010, and until now, there ha s not been any treatment or chance of a cure for RDEB. The study is the first of its kind that shows how bone marrow stem cells can adapt to the skin tissues and upper gastrointestinal tract, and help to slow down the progression of the disease.

Dr. John E. Wagner of the University of Minnesota Medical School, and director or pediatric blood and marrow transplantation, as well as the clinical director of the Stem Cell Institute, states, “whether the stem cells from marrow could repair tissues other than itself has been quite controversial…but in 2007, we found a rare subpopulation of marrow stem cells that could repair the skin in laboratory models. This astounding finding compelled us to test these stem cells in humans. This has never been done before.” (Source:

The stem cells found in bone marrow are capable of traveling to the areas of injured skin, which in turn helps to trigger collagen production. Collagen production is necessary to strengthen the skin, and is particularly valuable for patients who have been diagnosed with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. Patients who have this disease can now be cured with a bone marrow transplant and stem cell transfers.

Researchers concluded that further studies need to be done to test the efficacy of stem cell transfer and to assess the long-term risks involved with the treatment. Still, this recent discovery is showing very promising results.

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Oral and Topical Agents Can Prevent UV-Induced Skin Cancer

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on August 19, 2010

Topical agents, diet and certain medicines presented at the American Academy of Dermatology’s Summer Academy Meeting 2010 in Chicago is showing promise for preventing UV-induced skin cancer. Most skin cancers are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, and dermatologists are now encouraging the public to be conscientious about the amount of sun they are exposed to, and taking extra steps to use broad-spectrum sunscreen on a regular basis.

Still, incidences of non-melanoma skin cancer continue to rise, and researchers are investigating the effects of certain foods, vitamins and medicines that may prevent skin cancer.

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham shared the results of some of the latest research initiatives that showcase the benefits of medicine and diet in preventing UV-induced skin cancer. According to dermatologist Craig A. Elmets, MD, FAAD, professor and chair of the Department of Dermatology and Director of the Skin Diseases Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, “Based on the research conducted thus far, it appears that several different agents have the potential to be effective in providing enhanced sun protection and preventing non-melanoma skin cancers…while the way these agents work are different, we have seen encouraging results with both oral and topical agents, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), eflornithine and certain types of natural antioxidants.” (Source: Medical News Today)

Dr. Elmets explained that oral medication can be effective at preventing basal cell nevus syndrome, a genetic defect that triggers the development of basal cell carcinoma at a very early age. Other drugs can be injected into the skin to inhibit cancer cell formation. A number of antioxidants were also evaluated for their chemopreventive properties, and some were found to destroy free radicals and compounds in the body that damage the DNA. Several clinical studies suggest that polyphenols in grape seed extract and green tea can help to prevent the growth of certain types of skin tumors.

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Experts Warn Beach Umbrellas Don’t Block Out UV Rays

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on August 3, 2010

If you’re one of the many people who head to the beach with plenty of sunscreen and a beach umbrella, you may still need to take extra steps to ward off harmful UV rays. According to a recent study published in the Photochemistry and Photobiology journals, beach umbrellas block out only about 70 percent of UV rays.

Even though the umbrella intercepts the direct radiation that comes from the sun, diffused radiation is able to reach the skin throughout the day and can still cause extensive skin damage.

According to Jose Antonio Martinez-Lozano, co-author of the study and coordinator of the Research Group of Solar Radiation in UV, “The umbrella intercepts the direct radiation that comes from the Sun, but part of the diffused radiation, which makes up approximately 60% of the total, reaches the sensor from the sky not covered by the umbrella.” He also states that he and his team have proven that irradiance that reaches the ground covered by an umbrella is about 34 percent of the total.

The team created a geometric model to obstruct the sky to calculate the level of irradiance received on different planes under the umbrella. The different configurations helped to simulate the effects of the sun’s rays on real people who are lying down under sunshades.

These types of studies can help scientists gain a better understanding of the development of skin cancers and the appearance of melanoma. Dermatologists recommend staying out of direct sunlight and applying sunscreen regularly in order to avoid excessive skin damage and photoageing. Excessive sun exposure can cause several different eye disorders, weaken the immune system, and also cause DNA damage.

In addition to using a beach umbrella, sun worshippers can wear a wide-brimmed hat, cover up with lightweight clothing when they are not hitting the water, and apply waterproof sunscreen frequently throughout the day to protect the skin.

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Psoriasis Genetic Testing Now Available in Europe

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on August 2, 2010

A new genetic test for psoriatic arthritis is now available in Europe as a CE in vitro diagnostic medical device. DermaGenoma, Inc., a molecular dermatology research and development innovator announced the unveiling of the genetic testing system in late July, 2010 and the device is now available under the European In Vitro Diagnostic Directive.

The PsoriasisDX Genetic Test for Psoriatic Arthritis(PsA) is available as a CE marked product, a requirement established by European Directives that ensures conformity and compliance. The testing device is designed to identify those who are at a high risk for developing psoriatic arthritis before they even experience the arthritic symptoms, making it easier for doctors to assess joint damage and proceed with medical intervention if necessary.

According to Andy Goren, CEO of DermaGenoma, Inc.,”We  are excited to extend this revolutionary genetics testing breakthrough to dermatologists in Europe…it helps doctors determine the proper treatments for patients.”

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that causes skin to develop thick, silvery scales and raised red skin.  It is considered to be a non-curable condition that progressively worsens over time, but some people may be clear of the condition during periods of remission throughout the course of their lives. The skin condition can occur in all races, both sexes, and in people of all ages, and may become aggravated by extreme temperatures or increased exposure to sunlight.

The cause of psoriasis is unknown, but dermatologists and skin care professionals are able to treat various stages of the condition using certain topical creams, lotions and sprays, or by injecting steroids directly into the skin. Patients who have moderate to severe psoriasis may be good candidates for prescription medication such as methotrexate or even light therapy which can help to improve the health and condition of the skin.

Genetic testing will help many medical professionals detect and diagnose the disease early, and may help the patient prepare for an effective treatment plan.

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Genetic Mutation May Be Cause of Melanoma

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on June 11, 2010

A new study carried out by the Institute of Cancer Research and published in the Cancer Research journal shows that a genetic mutation found in some forms of malignant melanoma can initiate the development of the deadliest form of skin cancer. The KRAS gene is mutated in approximately two per cent of malignant melanomas, and is the study is the first of its kind to show that damage to this gene can be the first in a process of events that trigger malignant melanoma.

Professor Richard Marais, lead author of the study reports, “We know that the main cause of skin cancer is damage driven by the UV rays in sunlight, and we are now building up a picture of the key genes involved in this disease. We have already discovered that mutations in another gene, BRAF, could drive up to half of melanomas, and now we’ve established that damage to the KRAS gene can also be the first step in malignant melanoma development.”

Melanoma is difficult to treat once it has spread to other organs. The results from the study are helping researchers learn how different types of genetic events can cause skin cancer to develop, and also understand what triggers the disease so that scientists can find better treatments. In another related study, researchers found that genetic mutations ma y be necessary to promote cancer growth. Researchers are trying to identify these other changes so that they can develop more effective therapeutic approaches for treating early signs of skin cancer and preventing the formation of melanoma.

Researchers of this study and dermatologists advise patients to avoid excessive use of tanning beds and too much sun exposure, which can both be responsible for triggering skin cancer and melanoma growth. Melanoma was the cause of 8,650 deaths in the United States in 2009 alone, and approximately 68,720 new cases were reported that same year.

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Covidien Expands Family of Absorbable Wound Closure Devices in Tissue Repair

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on June 4, 2010

Covidien, one of the world’s leading global providers of healthcare products, has announced the global launch of its V-Loc 90 device, the newest addition to its absorbable wound closure devices for knotless wounds. The product received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on May 11, 2010 and is built on the success of the V-Loc 180 device that was launched in October 2009.

The V-Loc device helps close up wounds 50% faster than conventional sutures and without tying knots or changing any of the usual wound closure techniques and protocol.

The device works by holding the edges of the wound together tightly during the healing period. The V-Loc 90 device contains faster absorbing materials than other suture technologies, and in most cases, absorption is complete within 90 to 110 days.

According to Michel Therin, Vice President of the Soft Tissue Repair and Biosurgery division of Covidien, “With this new addition to our knotless wound closure portfolio, surgeons have an even broader array of choices for closing surgical incisions safely, quickly and effectively…the V-Loc 90 device is designed to provide better patient outcomes through the fast absorption of the product following the critical wound healing period after surgery.”

General surgeons, as well as plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgery professionals can all benefit from the V-Loc wound closure devices. The device is easy to handle and it produces targeted tension that can eliminate the need for another hand during the wound closing process. The device was previewed at the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. in April 2010. Many surgeons responded positively to the device’s ease of use and benefits, including the reduced operating time.

Covidien is a worldwide leader in manufacturing and distributing medical devices, pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, and currently sells products in over 140 countries.

(Source: Covidien Press Release)

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Mayo Clinic Reports Melanoma is Curable When Caught Early

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on May 22, 2010

It’s the deadliest form of skin cancer, but unfortunately, is becoming increasingly common worldwide.

One in 50 Americans will have to deal with melanoma at some point in their lives, according to the Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource, the organization strives to provide information on treatment options, and the latest news about skin cancer so that individuals can reduce their risk.

Today, the only major treatment for malignant melanoma is to remove the entire tumor, along with some of the skin. Removing the tumor in the early stages can help reduce the rate of recurrence of the disease, and further damage. Almost 80 percent of skin cancer cases can be cured completely when they are discovered at an early stage. Once the cancer has spread, more aggressive treatment is required. Today’s treatment options include radiation therapy, lymph node removal, chemotherapy and immune-based therapy.

By definition, melanoma is a malignant tumor of melanocytes, and is the main cause of skin-cancer related deaths. It is caused by an uncontrolled growth of pigmented cells, or melanin. It is predominantly found in adults, and 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths are from malignant melanoma. People of all skin types are at risk for developing melanoma at some point in their lives, and it is typically found only in parts of the body that are covered by skin.

Dermatologists and doctors advise individuals to avoid the use of tanning beds, especially before the age of 35, and to avoid direct sun exposure if they have a history of sunburns. The Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource also points out that individuals should see a dermatologist immediately if moles begin to itch, bleed, or are changing in color. Variations in color from tan, brown, black, and even red or white may be indicative of skin cancer.

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UK Surgeons Develop 3D Skin Cancer Diagnosis System

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on May 21, 2010

Many dermatologists use a two-dimensional computer system to view the patterns of moles and potential melanoma on the skin, and to detect skin cancer.

A group of UK scientists have now developed a 3D test for identifying malignant melanoma, and have provided details about the system in the latest issue of the International Journal of Modeling, Identification and Control.

In the UK alone, the incidence rates of malignant melanoma have increased more than any other cancers in the country. Doctors and dermatologists around the world agree that successful treatment of melanoma relies on early detection. The 3D skin cancer diagnosis system is designed to scan the skin quickly and easily, and in some cases, may prevent a biopsy.

2D skin diagnosis systems typically look at the asymmetry, border, color and diameter of a mole or skin lesion to determine whether it is a benign growth, or if it is malignant. The 3D system may be much more accurate, and can quickly reveal any changes in the texture of the skin, including benign lesions such as moles or freckles. The device produces a 3D computer rendering of the skin texture patterns, making it easier for the doctor to look at the surface of the skin in great detail, and identify any potential risk areas.

The 3D computer-assisted diagnosis system has been developed by Lyndon Smith and colleagues at the Machine Vision Laboratory, Bristol Institute of Technology, University of the West of England, in collaboration with the Department of Plastic Surgery at North Bristol NHS Trust.

The non-invasive 3D system ultimately provides a more accurate assessment of the skin, than 2D pattern recognition alone. All of the information is analyzed by a laptop and compared to patterns recorded from known cases of melanoma. This process helps ‘train’ the software program so that it becomes much easier to detect skin problems.


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Scientists Report on the Skin Benefits of Soybean Oil

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on May 3, 2010

A recent report presented at the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) showcased the development of a new method of converting soybean oil into a bio-based sunscreen active ingredient that could not only shield the skin from harmful UV rays, but also supports the skin cells.

Certain formulations of sunscreen contain ingredients that may be harmful to the skin and health in the long-term, and some dermatologists recommend using only chemical-free products, including organic sunscreen and skin protecting agents.

This particular study shows that a new, natural sunscreen agent could replace ingredients made from petroleum, and may be more effective for protecting the skin against UV damage.

Joseph Laszlo, Ph.D, points out that the market for sunscreen and skincare products that reduce the effects of UV light has been booming in recent years, and is actually a multi-billion dollar industry. However, there is ongoing concern about the effects of certain sunscreen ingredients. Oxybenzone, for example, a common ingredient in many major brand name sunscreens, is a suspected hormone disruptor, according to Dr. Laszlo.

Dr. Laszlo states, “we’re trying to provide nature-inspired skincare materials that avoid such health concerns and at the same time have fewer adverse environmental impacts…sunscreens are among the substances, termed “pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs),” that constitute a relatively new family of water contaminants with potential adverse health effects on wildlife and people.”

Sunscreen products are designed to protect the skin cells and body from the effects of UV-A and UV-B rays, and also lower the risk of sunburn. Overexposure to both types of rays can cause pigmentation, darkening of the skin (tanning), burning, and also increases the risk of skin cancer.

Dr. Laszlo and his colleagues have developed technology for converting soybean oil into a biobased active ingredient for sunscreen products, including the incorporation of ferulic acid. This ingredient may be safer for the skin, and the environment. (Source:

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Fraxel Re:Store Can Treat Precancerous Skin Conditions

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on April 22, 2010

Many people with moles, age spots and lesions undergo chemical peels, skin resurfacing procedures and microdermabrasion to help reduce the appearance of these marks and keep the skin healthy.

Unfortunately, some of these blemishes and lesions can be cancerous, and require intervention by a professional dermatologist. Dermatologists now have more options than ever for treating precancerous skin conditions, and many are turning to the Fraxel Re:Store system to achieve exceptional results.

Solta Medical, the medical aesthetics manufacturer behind Fraxel, recently announced that its Re:Stor DUAL laser system can provide superior results as  treatment for actinic keratoses, a precancerous skin condition caused by excessive sun exposure.

A clinical study at a laser and dermatology office in New York shows that the Fraxel Re:Stor DUAL laser was able to resolve over 85 percent of all AK lesions, and also helped to improve the texture and tone of the skin. Dr. Roy Geronemus, director of the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York, states, “if one already has significant sun damage, as can be the case with active golfers, I recommend the new Fraxel re:store DUAL laser treatment…the (treatment) is comparable or better to other topical therapies; however Fraxel has the added benefit of improving skin quality, color and texture.” (Source:

In 2008, Fraxel’s family of laser systems was presented during the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery’s annual conference, and highlighted the effects of the Fraxel Re:Pair, Re:Store and Re:Fine laser systems, which have now become the gold standard for fractional skin treatments.

The Re:Store laser was introduced to the United States market in 2004,  and is currently available at over 1,500 dermatology, plastic surgery and aesthetic surgery offices around the world. The procedure can be administered to the face, neck, chest, and hands, and is suitable for almost all skin types.

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