The “golden age” of dermatology has arrived

Dr. Thiers: “The armamentarium we have to treat skin disease is more powerful than it has ever been.”

Bruce H. Thiers, MD, gave the first of five lectures at Friday’s much-anticipated Plenary session. Dr. Thiers is professor and chairman emeritus of the department of dermatology and dermatologic surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina and editor emeritus of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Having observed the evolution of dermatologic therapy, Dr. Thiers shared his 40-year perspective about what he believes makes today the “golden age” of dermatology.

“In the past 20 years,” he said, “we’ve learned a great deal about the pathogenesis of many skin disorders. This has allowed us to develop more effective therapies.”

During the Everett C. Fox, MD, Memorial Award and Lectureship, Dr. Thiers discussed the abundant advancements that have been made to enhance what once were broad-brush therapies to become pointed, personalized approaches.

“For example, [in the past] if the skin was inflamed, we used agents known to reduce inflammation. Current therapies target more specific points in the inflammatory cascade, which may differ from one condition to another,” Dr. Thiers said. “The same thing goes for the newer antineoplastic agents. Rather than broadly inhibiting cell division, we now can interrupt very specific points in the signaling process that control cell proliferation.”

This new and exciting therapeutic landscape has made the practice of dermatology even more rewarding and has greatly benefited patients, Dr. Thiers said. Not only has it impacted the way dermatologists develop treatments, but it has also allowed for the potential of reversing the hostile effects of genetic disorders.

“The more we learn about the mechanisms underlying skin diseases, the more effective our treatments will become.”

Dr. Thiers hoped his message of progress and promise resonates with attendees.

“The future is bright both for us and our patients,” he said. “The armamentarium we have to treat skin disease is more powerful than it has ever been.”

 

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