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Basal Cell Agent Shows More Promise

More positive results have been reported for vismodegib (or GDC-0449), the hedgehog inhibitor being developed for treatment of advanced basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Vismodegib met its primary endpoint of overall response rate in the phase II study involving 104 patients with advanced BCC whose lesions were not appropriate for surgery. Curis, Inc., which is collaborating with Genentech on the agent, announced the findings. A safety assessment of the drug is ongoing. The companies anticipate making at least one regulatory submission in 2011. The treatment, also has been studied as a possible treatment for colon cancer and advanced ovarian cancer.

Ipilimumab Meets Endpoint

The investigational compound ipilimumab (Bristol- Myers Squibb) has met the primary endpoint of improving overall survival in previously-untreated patients with metastatic melanoma and garnered FDA approval for this indication. Results come from a study designed to assess overall survival in unresectable stage III or stage IV melanoma patients who have not received prior therapy. Researchers compared ipilimumab 10mg/kg in combination with chemotherapy (dacarbazine) vs. chemotherapy alone. An abstract of the data will be submitted to the American Society of Clinical Oncology for potential presentation at the Annual Meeting in June of this year.

Chocolate May Exacerbate Acne in Men

For men who have a history of acne, consumption of pure chocolate can exacerbate the condition within days. A study presented at the AAD Meeting in New Orleans involved 10 healthy male patients between the ages of 18 and 36 with a history of facial acne. The patients had at least one but no more than four total facial acneiform lesions at the outset and were restricted from using any OTC or prescription medications. Each patient consumed 6oz. of 100 percent chocolate and maintained their regular diet for one week. Researchers found a statistically significant increase in the number of total acneiform lesions on day four and day seven, compared with baseline. They also noted a trend toward increases in the number of non-inflammatory comedones on days four and seven. In addition, the study found a strong correlation between the amount of chocolate consumed and the amount of acneiform lesions that developed.

AAP Backs Ban on Tanning Booth Use by Minors

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is supporting legislation that would bar children from using tanning beds or other artificial tanning devices. In addition, the AAP advised that parents should begin to educate children about UV protection from an early age, especially kids at high risk for skin cancer, such as fair-skinned children who freckle or sunburn easily, or children from families with a history of melanoma. The AAP also noted that wearing proper clothing and hats should be encouraged, along with applying sunscreen and wearing sunglasses.

Understanding Visual Perceptions of Age and Attractiveness

New data suggest a disparity in visual perception of age in facial and body skin among women (Int J Cosmetic Science. 33; 2.). Researchers investigated whether independent presentation of female faces or chests and arms—cropped from a full face and upper body image—would result in significant differences in perception of age and attractiveness compared to the corresponding composite. Digital photographs of 52 women aged 45-65 years were collected and processed to yield derivative sets of images. A total of 240 participants judged the images for perceived age and attractiveness. Results showed significant differences in perception with the chest and the arms being judged significantly younger than the face or composite image of the same women. Regression analysis indicated that differences between the perceived and chronological values of overall age perception could be predicted by age perception of the face and arms. According to the authors, these results support the significance of facial age perception in the assessment of a woman's age, but highlight that body skin also plays a role in overall age impression.

iDermoscopy?

Scan, store, and transport dermoscopic images from your patients using your iPhone and the DermScope app and system from Canfield Scientific, Inc. DermScope offers features like one-touch zoom, live preview mode, and a large 15mm viewing field. Brightness and contrast are set using one-touch controls. Once images are captured, software allows the physician to tag lesions with their location on the body, assign images to patient files, and e-mail images. Images can be saved on the iPhone or in the Mirror or DermaGraphix database. For more information, visit DermScope.com/software.php.

New RF Device Launched

Among the new devices to launch at the recent AAD Meeting in New Orleans is Exilis (BTL Industries), a radiofrequency (RF) technology to reduce wrinkles, treat laxity, and reshape both the face and body on patients of all ages. Exilis delivers precise heating and cooling, plus real-time monitoring of skin temperature. This constant detection and control of RF flow allows the physician to reach therapeutic temperatures in the shortest amount of time, providing a predictable and beneficial response while ensuring patient safety and comfort. For more information, visit: BTLaesthetics.com/united-states/.

Imiquimod Cream 3.75% Cleared for EGW

Zyclara (Graceway) received FDA approval for the treatment of external genital and perianal warts (EGW) in individuals 12 and older. In trials, 28.3 percent of patients treated once-daily for eight weeks had complete clearance of all warts, compared to 9.4 percent of controls. Efficacy was greater in women (37 percent with complete clearance) than in men (19 percent).

Influence of the Internet Increasing Among Patients

As many as three-quarters of the general population wish for online connection with their doctor's office, a new survey from Inuit Health indicates. Moreover, results from the survey show that nearly half of respondents would consider switching doctors to a practice that offered the ability to communicate and complete important healthcare tasks online. More findings

  • Nearly 20 percent of Americans feel they cannot easily reach their doctor's office to ask questions, make appointments, or obtain lab results
  • 81 percent would schedule their own appointment via a secure Web service and fill out medical/registration forms prior to their appointment.

Within the specialty of dermatology, the Internet also appears to be playing a greater role in patients' knowledge of skin diseases. Another survey shows that patients are using the Internet more to search for skin health information (In J Dermatol. 50; 3). More findings:

  • 93 percent of respondents in a survey reported that they relied on their doctors as their primary source of information
  • 69 percent indicated that online medical information was beneficial
  • Almost eight percent stated that they would always trust data obtained from the Internet.

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