Rain or shine, the 40th edition of the Fall Clinical Dermatology online conference kicked off with great enthusiasm on 29th October, 2020. Despite numerous hurdles, including the current coronavirus pandemic and Hurricane Zeta affecting the conference studio, the conference started on schedule with about 2,400 members signing in on the first day. The online format provided the flexibility of attending live CME and industry expert sessions, as well as on-demand CME sessions from the comfort of homes and offices. In addition to the CME sessions, the conference included networking opportunities for physicians through UCB Cozy Café and an industry-sponsored virtual exhibit hall. To keep listeners engaged during the conference, there was online entertainment and multiple prizes for quizzes, raffles, and engagement. The conference was led by world-renowned physician scientists and program directors like Dr. Mark Lebwohl, Dr. James Q. DelRosso, and Dr. Darell S Rigel.
The first day included several talks on advancements in therapeutics and their implications on dermatology patients during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Mark Lebwohl gave an interesting talk on oral and topical forms of Janus Kinase inhibitors currently being studied for Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis. Despite the multitudes of advancement in biologics for Psoriasis, oral and topical formulations of Janus Kinase inhibitors provides an additional therapeutic option for patients with moderate to severe psoriasis. Other lectures later in the day also discussed how Janus Kinase inhibition is currently also under study for atopic dermatitis, vitiligo, as well as alopecia areata.
Continuing with therapeutics, Dr. James Q. Del Rosso talked about a new oral tetracycline. It has a narrow antibiotic spectrum of activity and is approved only for acne in patients aged 9 and above. It has a low incidence of tetracycline-associated adverse events. This was followed by talk by Dr. Linda Stein Gold talked about topical minocycline, 4% foam for acne and 1.5% foam for rosacea. The topical 4% formulations provide higher concentration in epidermis and dermis than systemic antibiotics. With growing antibiotic resistance, targeted antibiotics and topical minocycline provide new tools for dermatologists to prescribe antibiotics responsibly.
Later in the day, Dr. Bruce Strober and Dr. April Armstrong provided a comprehensive update on the safety of biologics during this coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Strober discussed several studies and concluded that coronavirus infections are possibly more likely in patients on biologics but hospitalizations and severe clinical course/death is similar to the general population. Dr. Strober mentioned that overall biologic therapies for psoriasis are likely safe during the COVID-19 era, but clinicians should tailor treatment based on current severity of disease, patient demographics, and comorbidities. Dr. Amstrong provided a summary of the National Psoriasis Foundation COVID-19 Taskforce, according to which rates of coronavirus infections are similar in psoriasis patients and the general population. She also discussed that IL-23 inhibitors for psoriasis and dupilumab for Atopic Dermatitis are overall safe based on the data available so far.
Many other interesting topics were discussed during Day 1. Dr. Darell S. Rigel discussed integrating newer technologies like home phototherapy, genetic testing for melanoma, as well as virtual dermoscopy in clinical practice. Dr. Bhatia, along with his patient, gave a very engaging talk on balneotherapy for atopic dermatitis in France. Dr. Bhatia’s patient had tried every form of traditional topical and systemic treatments before going to France for balneotherapy. This therapy uses filiform pressure shower and facial mist therapy. Over the course of two weeks, it improved his skin condition remarkably. In addition, there were talks on the role of moisturization in atopic dermatitis, personal care products, and new IL-17 inhibitor Bimekizumab, IL-23 inhibitor Tildrakizumab, etc. Some other exciting topics to look forward to over the weekend included updates on warts, molluscum, vitiligo, alopecia areata, pruritus, hair, and pigmentation disorders etc. The 40th Fall Clinical Dermatology was a success in providing the latest education in dermatology.