Dr Jason Ezra Hawkes Addresses Immunotherapy Innovation, Uptake Issues in Atopic Dermatitis

Jason Ezra Hawkes, MD, MS, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and associate professor of dermatology at the University of California Davis in Sacramento, discussed recent advancements in immunotherapy for atopic dermatitis and what unmet needs persist to address uptake issues and patient-specific care needs.

There has been extensive advancement in immunotherapy for the treatment of atopic dermatitis (AD), but unmet needs persist to manage disease burden in patients with more broadly mediated immune disease and to address uptake issues, particularly for pediatric populations, said Jason Ezra Hawkes, MD, MS, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and associate professor of dermatology at the University of California Davis in Sacramento.


How would you describe the current use of immune therapies in AD, and what further growth would you like to see whether in treatment advancements or addressing uptake issues?

We've had huge advances in AD, and that's really helped a lot of patients. So, again, blocking out IL-13 [interleukin-13] with biologics has been a very highly effective strategy with very low safety concerns. But we're starting to see those other groups of patients, again, who aren't responding that we're looking at other therapies. So, the JAK [Janus kinase] inhibitors, for example, may actually help us in covering those patients who don't really respond to targeted therapy.

One of the pros and cons to biologics, for example, is that they're very targeted therapies, they're very specific. And sometimes we see with patients with AD that they have a messier immune disease, they have multiple pathways that are involved in the presentation of their skin condition. So, we may need therapies that act a little bit broader.

We really don't know the safety of these newer medications; the JAK inhibitors, as they come out, for example, we're still learning and that will take some time. And I think in this way, we have to sort of anticipate that there may be problems or there may be concerns or reservations for our patients. I think the pediatric population is a group that's particularly difficult because sometimes they can't use pills or they're unwilling to do shots. And so this can limit some of the uptake of these medications.

So, we need to continue to develop therapies that are safe, that can be applied to a wide range of patients, because a lot of the therapies we have right now really can't be applied to a lot of our pediatric patients, or families or parents may be unwilling to pursue these therapies that are highly effective due to concern.

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