Sunday Plenary to explore diversity, psoriasis, melanoma therapy, hair loss treatment

The lack of diversity in dermatology, the promise of biologics in controlling psoriasis, advances in melanoma therapy, and research in reversing hair loss in male pattern baldness will be the focus of four named lectures during the Sunday Plenary.

The Plenary also will feature addresses by AAD President Brett Coldiron, MD, and President-Elect Mark Lebwohl, MD, and by three guest speakers (see page 3) from 8 a.m. to noon Sunday in Room 102, Moscone South.

Clarence S. Livingood, MD, Award and Lectureship

Bruce Wintroub, MD

Bruce Wintroub, MD

Bruce Wintroub, MD, will present “Dermatology: Insuring the Future for the Patients We Serve.” He is interim dean of the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine as well as professor and chair of the department of dermatology.

Since he began his dermatology career in the early 1970s, Dr. Wintroub said, many scientific and practice advances that have taken place to greatly advance the specialty, but more work needs to be done.

“In the last 40 years, dermatology has advanced in spectacular fashion due to the great caliber of people we attracted to the field, who then developed as leaders across the field,” he said. “We should congratulate ourselves on that. But we have left one thing undone. This is the fact that in dermatology we have much to do with respect to training physicians from diverse groups who are underrepresented in medicine.”

Eugene J. Van Scott Award for Innovative Therapy of the Skin and Phillip Frost Leadership Lecture

James G. Krueger, MD, PhD

James G. Krueger, MD, PhD

James G. Krueger, MD, PhD, will present “The Translational Revolution for Treatment of Psoriasis with Targeted Therapeutics,” tracing the latest research that shows how the IL-23/Th-17 pathway drives the disease.

Dr. Krueger is the D. Martin Carter professor in the clinical investigation laboratory of investigative dermatology and the director of the Milstein Medical Research Program at Rockefeller University, New York. His research team has spent decades studying psoriasis that has helped lead to the development of biologic treatments. A new treatment using an IL-23 antibody may break new ground.

“In the first proof-of-concept study, patients were given a single dose of this antibody, and some stayed clear for more than a year without a return of disease,” Dr. Krueger said. “That is a very impressive result in targeting what we now think is the central pathway.”

Lila and Murray Gruber Memorial Cancer Research Award and Lectureship

Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD

Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD

Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, will present “Blocking BRAF and PD-1 to Treat Melanoma,” during which he will discuss the role of the immune system in melanoma, as well as the BRAF oncogene that drives the growth of about half of melanomas.

Dr. Ribas, a professor of medicine, surgery, and molecular and medical pharmacology at the University of California, Los Angeles, focuses his research on developing new treatments for melanoma. He also is the director of the Tumor Immunology Program at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and chair of the melanoma committee of the National Cancer Institute-sponsored Southwest Oncology Group.

“Melanoma tries to hide from the immune system by turning off the immune response to the cancer. But inhibitors like CTLA-4 and PD-1 can unleash the immune system to fight the cancer,” he said.

Dr. Ribas will discuss work on developing combination therapies using BRAF inhibitors and PD-1 antibodies that could allow the immune system to respond more strongly to cancers.

Marion B. Sulzberger, MD, Memorial Award and Lectureship

George Cotsarelis, MD

George Cotsarelis, MD

George Cotsarelis, MD, will present “Hair Loss: From Known Knowns to Unknown Unknowns” in which he will discuss his decades of research into reversing androgenetic alopecia.

Dr. Cotsarelis, Milton Bixler Hartzell professor of dermatology at the Perleman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, is exploring treatments for hair loss that could include inhibiting the PGD2 lipid that is elevated in balding scalp.

Research shows that the balding scalp has a similar number of stem cells as the haired scalp, he said. However, the daughter cells of the stem cells are depleted in the balding scalp. The result is a tiny hair instead of a normal large hair.

“That raised the question of whether there was an inhibitor in the balding scalp that prevented the stem cells from proliferating, or a lack of an activator that just kept them very quiet and unable to turn into progenitor cells,” Dr. Cotsarelis said.

The key may lie in the testing of existing drugs that had been developed for allergy treatments, but were not efficacious. Research has shown that PGD2 is expressed on mast cells, which also are involved in allergies. These drugs could act as inhibitors to block the PGD2 lipid, he said.

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