New Gene-Altering Lotions May Cure Skin Diseases

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  • Researchers at Northwestern University believe they have found a way to cure skin diseases through a topical, gene-altering lotion.

    "We like to treat skin diseases with topical creams so that we avoid side effects from treatments taken by mouth or injected," said Dr. Amy Paller, chair of dermatology and professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

    Researchers face the challenge of successfully creating a cream that can penetrate the skin enough to treat diseases.

    Study agents used nanotechnology to place gene-altering structures on top of gold particles targeting epidermal growth receptors.  These receptors are the markers related to various types of skin cancers. During this process, researchers were determined to penetrate the skin without eliciting an immune response.

    "The problem is that our skin is a formidable barrier," Paller said.  "Genetic material can't get through the skin through regular means."

    Researchers combined their compounds with the over the counter ointment, Aquafor, which is commonly used for skin irritation.

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