For immediate release: March 5, 2007

GALVESTON, Texas - Dr. Erica Kelly, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, has a personal interest in a study she hopes to begin soon.

She is awaiting funding and approval to do research on using Fraxel laser treatments for burn scars.

Kelly's brother was burned extensively when an oxygen pipeline exploded in 1994 in an industrial accident.

"I have tried the treatment on him, and it seems to be working really well at improving the appearance and softening the scars," she noted. Kelly also has plans to research the use of Fraxel lasers on surgical scars.

Other dermatology research includes a study sponsored by the pharmaceutical company Galderma regarding a new topical combination for acne. Dr. Michael Wilkerson, associate professor of dermatology, heads UTMB's part in the nationwide study of 1,600 subjects age 12 and older. UTMB's target is 30 subjects in this research.

Dr. Brent Kelly, clinical instructor in the Department of Dermatology, in conjunction with the Department of Radiology, is conducting a study regarding whether the chemical gadolinium, used in magnetic resonance imaging and other medical imaging, relates to nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy, a skin disorder manifesting in patients with renal disease. Additionally, he is working with Drs. Ramon Sanchez and Matthew Petitt in determining the mechanism of the fibrosis in this disease.

Brent Kelly is also working with the Department of Pathology in looking at sentinel lymph node biopsies in patients with melanoma in trying to determine how often micrometastasies (tiny deposits of cancer, less than two millimeters in size) are seen using different cutting and staining techniques. The sentinel lymph node is the first node to receive lymphatic drainage from a tumor. Biopsies of these nodes determine whether the node has tumor cells within it.

Dr. Richard Wagner, professor of dermatology, and Brent Kelly are looking at the incidence of positive margins in non-melanoma cancer excisions. Wagner is also studying the use of lip protection by skin cancer patients, as lip cancers are fairly common. As part of this, he is hypothesizing that smokers may not be protecting their lips as well as non-smokers.

Other current or upcoming dermatology studies at UTMB include:

· Studies by Brent Kelly on the use of Raptiva in patients who have failed treatment with other injected psoriasis drugs as well as a 5-year safety study of Raptiva and other injected psoriasis drugs.

· A genetic analysis of KID Syndrome (keratitis, ichthyosis and deafness) by Brent Kelly. Keratitis involves defects of the surface of the corneas, and ichthyosis is characterized by scaly, rough, red skin.

· A study by Dr. Dayna Diven, clinical professor of dermatology, and Erica Kelly, regarding whether tissue clearing with glycerin under occlusion makes a difference in the laser removal of tattoos.

· Study by Michael Wilkerson of 5-year, long-term safety of Enbrel for psoriasis.

· A study by Diven on incidence of depression in Botox patients.

· Dr. Maria Colome-Grimmer, clinical associate professor and director of dermatopathology, and Petitt, dermatopathology fellow, are studying the use of immunohistochemistry for melanocytic specific markers in the diagnosis of lentigo maligna, a subtype of melanoma in situ and other benign melanocytic lesions.

· Colome and Petitt are also trying to define the histologic features that differentiate benign and premalignant squamous proliferations, such as verruca, seborrheic keratosis and actinic keratosis, through correlation with HPV typing by molecular pathology.
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