January 2012 | Volume 11 | Issue 1 | Features | 130 | Copyright © January 2012

Pipeline Previews brings to you information on the newest drugs and medical products as they become available to the dermatologic community. This department may include additional information from the manufacturers, plus reports from physicians who wish to share their clinical experience with these new products. In addition, we will inform our readers about the latest drugs receiving Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.
Atralin® Gel Promotes Tretinoin Penetration
A study of absorption properties reported at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology shows that more tretinoin penetrated in vitro into the dermis via Atralin® (tretinoin) gel 0.05% than when applied via two other tretinoin therapies for acne. In the study, conducted by Dow Pharmaceutical Sciences, approximately 5 mg/cm2 of three marketed formulations-Atralin gel, tretinoin microsphere gel (0.1%) and tretinoin microsphere gel (0.04%)-were applied to skin samples obtained after elective surgery, and percutaneous absorption into the dermis was assessed 24 hours after application.
According to the study results, the skin samples to which Atralin had been applied had the highest level of active pharmaceutical ingredient in the dermis of the group. The Atralin formulation retained 0.074 µg/cm2 of the active pharmaceutical ingredient, compared to 0.061 µg/cm2 for the 0.1% formulation and 0.051 µg/cm2 for the 0.04% formulation.
In addition, Atralin gel, designed as a retinoid therapy to minimize irritation and enhance patient use, has been show to be effective at low dosage while moisturizing and hydrating the skin. In two 12-week studies, a total of 1,161 subjects from 10 to 53 years old with mild to moderate facial acne vulgaris were randomly assigned to receive Atralin gel 0.05% or gel vehicle alone. Results from the first study showed that total acne lesions decreased an average of 43% in those using Atralin gel 0.05%, compared with 22% in those using vehicle alone after 12 weeks of treatment. In the second study, total acne lesions decreased an average of 35% in those using Atralin gel, compared with 19% in those using vehicle only.
National Rosacea Society Awards New Grants for Medical Research
The National Rosacea Society (NRS) announced that it has awarded funding to three new studies in addition to continuing support for five ongoing studies as part of its research grants program to increase knowledge and understanding of the potential causes and other key aspects of rosacea, which is now estimated to affect more than 16 million Americans.
Dr. Ferda Cevikbas, postdoctoral fellow at the University of California-San Francisco, and colleagues were awarded $25,000 to assess the role of PACAP, a neuropeptide that may affect rosacea. They plan to define the distribution of PACAP in skin samples from rosacea patients, determine whether PACAP induces inflammation and test whether cathelicidin-a known factor in rosacea's pathophysiology-modulates the release of PACAP. The researchers also plan to test whether countering the effects of PACAP is beneficial and may thus be used as a rosacea therapy.
Dr. Edward Wladis, assistant professor of ophthalmology at Albany Medical College, was awarded $12,100 to identify specific cytokines-molecules that regulate the immune system-that are involved in ocular rosacea by studying eyelid tissue from individuals with and without the disorder. Dr. Wladis will also investigate the role of toll-like receptors (TLRs), which are proteins that identify invading agents and alert the innate immune system to begin protective reactions.
Dr. Richard Granstein, chairman of dermatology at Cornell University, and colleagues were awarded $25,000 to study the potential role of Th17 cells, a newly discovered class of cells that appear to be involved in a number of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. Earlier study results strongly indicated that release of ATP-a neurotransmitter and carrier of chemical energy throughout the body-from nerves under stressful situations might initiate a sequence of events leading to or exacerbating inflammation in the skin. This study will investigate whether this inflammation results because Th17 cells are produced during this process in rosacea.