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A cream for psoriasis can improve the treatment of pre-cancerous skin

Photo: Household cream helps pre-cancerous skin
A household cream used for psoriasis can help reduce the number of pre-cancerous sites of facial skin damage, a study has found.

A vitamin D cream for psoriasis can improve the treatment of pre-cancerous skin patches on the face by more than 60 per cent, research has shown.

Scientists found that combining calcipotriol with a widely used chemotherapy ointment triggered a strong immune response against the abnormal cells.

The drug is a synthetic version of the "active" form of vitamin D, calcitriol, which is normally used to treat psoriasis, an auto-immune condition marked by red, scaly skin patches.

In the study, researchers re-purposed it to treat patients with actinic keratosis, which produces dry, scaly, pink, red or brown patches where the skin has been exposed to the sun for too long.
Adding calcipotriol to the topical chemotherapy 5-fluorouracil led to a big reduction in the number of pre-cancerous sites of skin damage on the faces of 132 patients.

They fell by an average of almost 88 per cent, compared with 26 per cent using standard chemotherapy alone.

On average, the study participants had 15 skin lesions on the face, 22 on the scalp, 14 on the right arm, and 12 on the left arm.

Study co-author Dr Lynn Cornelius, director of dermatology at Washington University in the US, said the study showed the combination therapy was more effective and better tolerated than current treatment practices.

Compared with standard therapy, the experimental treatment reduced scalp lesions by 70 per cent.

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