DermTech and Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego, Initiate Study to Understand Effects of Vitamin D as a Treatment for Atopic Dermatitis in Children and Young Adults

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 General News
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LA JOLLA, Calif., Oct 27 DermTech, a biotechnology companydeveloping EGIR(TM) (Epidermal Genetic Information Retrieval) technology forthe non-invasive early detection of melanoma, drug development and otherapplications, and Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego, today announced theinitiation of a study involving the use of the company's EGIR technology as avehicle to evaluate oral and/or topical Vitamin D as a treatment for atopicdermatitis (eczema).

"We are looking forward to working with the team at DermTech and employingthe company's non-invasive EGIR ("tape stripping") technology as part of ourresearch," said Lawrence F. Eichenfield, MD, Chief of Pediatric and AdolescentDermatology, Rady Children's Hospital and the Principal Investigator on thestudy. "Atopic dermatitis is a condition that gets little public attentionbut can have a major negative impact on a child or young adult's quality oflife. A recent small study has suggested that Vitamin D may help bolster theskin's immune responses, but more data is needed. We will be using the EGIRtechnology to evaluate the expression of defense proteins in the affectedpopulation before and after treatment with Vitamin D to help elucidate apotentially important part of atopic dermatitis immunology and therapy."

Atopic dermatitis is a common, chronic inflammatory skin disease withcomplex immunologic features. It has 15-20% prevalence in children within thefirst decade of life and there are limited therapeutic options.

In "normal skin", anti-microbial peptides (AMP) such as cathelicidin(hCAP18/LL37) help regulate innate immunity by directly killing microbesincluding Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, as well as fungi andcertain viruses. Patients with atopic dermatitis however, lack sufficientexpression of these AMPs and thus are susceptible to uncontrolled bacterialcolonization and infection that may stimulate skin inflammation. It ispostulated that topical Vitamin D may induce expression of cathelicidin andhelp stimulate an appropriate immune response.

"Rady Children's Hospital is widely recognized for its leading-edgeresearch and its significant contribution to scientific leadership and thecommunity of San Diego and beyond," said George Schwartz, CEO, DermTech. "Weare very pleased to be working with Dr. Eichenfield and the researchers atRady Children's, to provide genetic information that will correlate to theobserved clinical effects of this new potential therapy for atopic dermatitis.Ideally, the results will lead to improved options for a common pediatricdisease."

Using EGIR in the research setting represents a key application of thistechnology -- to assess patients' responsiveness to current or pipelinetherapeutics at the genetic level. Specifically, DermTech's patented EGIRtechnology will allow researchers to use a piece of custom tape, about thesize of a small round band-aid, to painlessly obtain RNA from the upper layerof skin. The RNA will be extracted from the tape and using molecular biologytools, analyzed to help determine if Vitamin D induces molecular changesleading to enhanced immunity.

About DermTech:

Headquartered in La Jolla, California, DermTech International is focusedon the development and validation of molecular tests using specimens obtainedfrom the skin. The company's proprietary Epidermal Genetic InformationRetrieval (EGIR(TM)) technology is in clinical studies to evaluate itspotential as a non-invasive diagnostic for melanoma and other major diseases.It is also being studied in the context of tracking treatment efficacy for avariety of dermatologic and other conditions, including the effects of drugson skin at the molecular level in advance of observable clinical results.DermTech is actively pursuing research using EGIR(TM) and its applications inthe areas of melanoma, prostate cancer and various skin disorders, such aspsoriasis.

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About Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego:

Rady Children's Hospital is a 261-bed pediatric care facility providingthe largest source of comprehensive pediatric medical services in San Diego,Southern Riverside and Imperial counties. As the sole hospital in the SanDiego area dedicated exclusively to pediatric healthcare, Rady Children's isthe region's only designated pediatric trauma center. Rady Children's has a54-bed Pediatric Critical Care unit and a 38-bed Neonatal Intensive care unit,along with the only comprehensive pediatric Cancer Care Center in San Diego.For additional information visit: Contacts: DermTech George Schwartz, CEO 858.450.4222 Jennifer Larson 415.725.2017 Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego Ben Metcalf 858.966.8579


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