J. Clin. Med.2015, 4(2), 360-368; doi:10.3390/jcm4020360 - published 12 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Effective atopic eczema (AE) control not only improves quality of life but may also prevent the atopic march. The Royal College of General Practitioners’ (RCGP) curriculum does not currently provide specific learning outcomes on AE management. We aimed to gain consensus on learning outcomes to inform curriculum development. A modified Delphi method was used with questionnaires distributed to gather the views of a range of health care professionals (HCPs) including general practitioners (GPs), dermatologists, dermatology nurses and parents of children with AE attending a dedicated paediatric dermatology clinic. Ninety-one questionnaires were distributed to 61 HCPs and 30 parents; 81 were returned. All agreed that learning should focus on the common clinical features, complications and management of AE and the need to appreciate its psychosocial impact. Areas of divergence included knowledge of alternative therapies. Parents felt GPs should better understand how to identify, manage and refer severe AD and recognized the value of the specialist eczema nurse. Dermatologists and parents highlighted inconsistencies in advice regarding topical steroids. This study identifies important areas for inclusion as learning outcomes on AE management in the RCGP curriculum and highlights the importance of patients and parents as a valuable resource in the development of medical education.
J. Clin. Med.2015, 4(2), 343-359; doi:10.3390/jcm4020343 - published 12 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of irreversible visual impairment in older populations in industrialized nations. AMD is a late-onset deterioration of photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium in the central retina caused by various environmental and genetic factors. Great strides in our understanding of AMD pathogenesis have been made in the past several decades, which have translated into revolutionary therapeutic agents in recent years. In this review, we describe the clinical and pathologic features of AMD and present an overview of current diagnosis and treatment strategies.
J. Clin. Med.2015, 4(2), 318-342; doi:10.3390/jcm4020318 - published 12 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The integrity and normal function of the corneal epithelium are crucial for maintaining the cornea’s transparency and vision. The existence of a cell population with progenitor characteristics in the limbus maintains a dynamic of constant epithelial repair and renewal. Currently, cell-based therapies for bio replacement—cultured limbal epithelial transplantation (CLET) and cultured oral mucosal epithelial transplantation (COMET)—present very encouraging clinical results for treating limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD) and restoring vision. Another emerging therapeutic approach consists of obtaining and implementing human progenitor cells of different origins in association with tissue engineering methods. The development of cell-based therapies using stem cells, such as human adult mesenchymal or induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs), represent a significant breakthrough in the treatment of certain eye diseases, offering a more rational, less invasive, and better physiological treatment option in regenerative medicine for the ocular surface. This review will focus on the main concepts of cell-based therapies for the ocular surface and the future use of IPSCs to treat LSCD.
J. Clin. Med.2015, 4(2), 304-317; doi:10.3390/jcm4020304 - published 12 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Purpose: To investigate the association of optical coherence tomography (OCT)-derived drusen measures in Amish age-related macular degeneration (AMD) patients with known loci for macular degeneration. Methods: Members of the Old Order Amish community in Pennsylvania ages 50 and older were assessed for drusen area, volume and regions of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) atrophy using a Cirrus High-Definition OCT. Measurements were obtained in the macula region within a central circle (CC) of 3 mm in diameter and a surrounding perifoveal ring (PR) of 3 to 5 mm in diameter using the Cirrus OCT RPE analysis software. Other demographic information, including age, gender and smoking status, were collected. Study subjects were further genotyped to determine their risk for the AMD-associated SNPs in the SYN3, LIPC, ARMS2, C3, CFB, CETP, CFI and CFH genes using TaqMan genotyping assays. The association of genotypes with OCT measures were assessed using linear trend p-values calculated from univariate and multivariate generalized linear models. Results: 432 eyes were included in the analysis. Multivariate analysis (adjusted by age, gender and smoking status) confirmed the known significant association between AMD and macular drusen with the number of CFH risk alleles for the drusen area (the area increased 0.12 mm2 for a risk allele increase, p < 0.01), drusen volume (the volume increased 0.01 mm3 for a risk allele increase, p ≤ 0.05) and the area of RPE atrophy (the area increased 0.43 mm2 for a risk allele increase, p = 0.003). SYN3 risk allele G is significantly associated with larger area PR (the area increased 0.09 mm2 for a risk allele increase, p = 0.03) and larger drusen volume in the central circle (the volume increased 0.01 mm3 for a risk allele increase, p = 0.04). Conclusion: Among the genotyped SNPs tested, the CFH risk genotype appears to play a major role in determining the drusen phenotype in the Amish AMD population.
J. Clin. Med.2015, 4(2), 282-303; doi:10.3390/jcm4020282 - published 29 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) are increasingly gaining attention in biomedicine as valuable resources to establish patient-derived cell culture models of the cell type known to express the primary pathology. The idea of “a patient in a dish” aims at basic, but also clinical, applications with the promise to mimic individual genetic and metabolic complexities barely reflected in current invertebrate or vertebrate animal model systems. This may particularly be true for the inherited and complex diseases of the retina, as this tissue has anatomical and physiological aspects unique to the human eye. For example, the complex age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in Western societies, can be attributed to a large number of genetic and individual factors with so far unclear modes of mutual interaction. Here, we review the current status and future prospects of utilizing hPSCs, specifically induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), in basic and clinical AMD research, but also in assessing potential treatment options. We provide an outline of concepts for disease modelling and summarize ongoing and projected clinical trials for stem cell-based therapy in late-stage AMD.
J. Clin. Med.2015, 4(2), 260-281; doi:10.3390/jcm4020260 - published 29 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the most common sexually transmitted disease worldwide and can result in pre-malignancies or overt malignancies of the skin and mucosal surfaces. HPV-related illnesses are an important personal and public health problem causing physical, mental, sexual and financial detriments. Moreover, this set of malignancies severely affects the immunosuppressed population, particularly HIV-positive patients and organ-transplant recipients. There is growing incidence of HPV-associated anogenital malignancies as well as a decrease in the average age of affected patients, likely related to the rising number of high-risk individuals. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of HPV-related malignancy. Current treatment options for HPV infection and subsequent disease manifestations include imiquimod, retinoids, intralesional bleomycin, and cidofovir; however, primary prevention with HPV vaccination remains the most effective strategy. This review will discuss anogenital lesions in immunocompromised patients, cutaneous warts at nongenital sites, the association of HPV with skin cancer in immunocompromised patients, warts and carcinomas in organ-transplant patients, HIV-positive patients with HPV infections, and the management of cutaneous disease in the immunocompromised patient.