The Dermatology Unit is involved in clinical research with an emphasis on different methods of treatment and prevention of skin cancer.
The Unit has undertaken a number of clinical trials over the last 10 years and has a special interest in the treatment of skin cancers both in normal and in transplant patients. Trials have been undertaken in the treatment of Actinic Keratoses (premalignant lesions) and Basal Cell Cancers (non-melanoma skin cancers) using Photodynamic Therapy, a treatment where red light activates a drug applied to the skin, and Aldara cream. Both of these treatments have subsequently been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the body which allows drugs into Australia, for treatment of these disorders in the Australian population.
In 2010, the Unit undertook a significant study in renal transplant patients showing that the retinoid (Vitamin A derivate) Acitretin reduces the number of Squamous Cell Cancers (non-melanoma skin cancers). This drug is now used widely around the world for this purpose. It has also looked at the benefit of Sirolomus, a transplant rejection drug, in reducing Squamous Cell Cancers in renal transplant patients in a multicenter international trial. The Unit is currently doing a trial to assess a new treatment to prevent Squamous Cell Cancers in renal transplant patients
The Therapeutics Research Group is also looking at better diagnosis and treatment of skin cancers using advanced non-invasive imaging technologies and topical products.