September 2016 Newsletter

Fabrizio Galimberti Shares his research experience with UH Derm

Newly minted Doctor Fabrizio Galimberti on his medical student research experience and immune regulation of psoriasis.

Doctor Fabrizio Galimberti discusses his year of research as a medical student at Case Western Reserve University’s Lerner College of Medicine in the UH/CWRU Department of Dermatology. He describes his findings that psoriasis patients have a disordered immune system with a particular focus on abnormal monocyte derived suppressor cells.

My name is Fabrizio Victor Galimberti. I’m a medical student, just graduated, from Case Western Reserve University here in Cleveland, Ohio. I matched to a dermatology program at the University of Miami. Before that, I’ll be in D.C. for a year for my intern year. And this year, 2016, I was the recipient of the Dermatology Award for Case Western and University Hospitals. It was something that made me very happy because I spent one year of my medical school doing research with the supervision and help of Dr. Kevin Cooper and Dr. Thomas McCormick here at University Hospitals Case Western.

With their help, I looked at the role of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in psoriasis. These are immune cells that are kind of the master regulator of the immune system. They are capable of suppressing the immune system and we looked at whether their role was important in psoriasis. With their help and the help of all of the post-docs and graduate students in their lab, we learned that MDSCs, these regulatory cells, are up-regulated in psoriatic patients, which means there’s more of them in patients with psoriasis--yet they don’t function well. The importance of this is that it presents a possible target to treat the disease. And what’s important to realize is that although psoriasis is mostly a skin manifestation and patients go to see their dermatologist because of the rash they get, there are also significant implications for their health. Patients with psoriasis have a significantly higher risk of a cardiovascular events (like a heart attack). What we hope to investigate in the future is whether targeting these cells that we studied can help not only the skin, but also the cardiovascular risk.

So, I spent one year in the lab and one of the most important things that I learned was how to think like a scientist. I do have a research background, but really I was more focused on small, molecular, truly basic science efforts whereas in Dr. Cooper and Dr. McCormick’s laboratory, I learned how to think in terms of the bigger picture and really consider how my studies can affect health. Of course this is really down the line, maybe 15-20 years to reach a tangible product that really helps patients. Yet it’s important to really understand how the disease works because, as we see with many other diseases, it’s all these little building blocks that eventually build to the bigger story.

So, in conclusion, receiving this award not only makes me feel proud and happy that I learned a lot working with these great mentors, but also gives me even more motivation to stay in science and not only be a clinical dermatologist but also to continue to do some basic science and hopefully advance clinical dermatology.

Cooper and Lloyd DO Program Interview

Dr. Kevin Cooper catches up with Dr. Jenifer Lloyd to discuss upcoming changes in the Osteopathic Dermatology Residency Program at University Hospitals in Cleveland.

How the ADA Osteopathic Dermatology Residency Program of the Department of Dermatology of University Hospitals & Case Western Reserve University is adapting to become an Osteopathic track ACGME Dermatology Program; implications for applications and board certification options by ABD and AOCD.

The Osteopathic Dermatology Residency Program has been in existence for over 14 years at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. The program is unique as it integrates allopathic medical MD(s) and osteopathic DO(s) in their residency with Dermatology. The merger with ACGME is creating a new osteopathic track. The new osteopathic track allows the osteopathic residents to pursue the application of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment to patients with skin disease.

These changes will allow the residents in the new education track to take either board. They can now choose between either the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology board or the American Board of Dermatology. The changes also allow the residents to take both boards as well.

The timing of their applications will also be affected by the changes. As of now the Osteopathic students are applying during their internship year but will transition to applying as 4th year medical students.

No matter which board certification they choose, graduated residents will be members of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Clinical Research Trial Gives Cancer Patient Hope

Patient Lannie Adamowicks on her diagnosis of Sezary syndrome and her experience as participant of a clinical trial for patients with this condition.

Lannie Adamowicks and Dr. Kevin Cooper discuss Sezary Syndrome a form of Cutaneous T Cell Lymphoma from a patient and physician perspective. Dr. Cooper also discusses the mechanism of action of the investigational treatment Lannie currently receives at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.

Lannie Adamowicks was diagnosed with Sezary Syndrome by Dr. Cooper in 2014. Sezary Syndrome is a type of leukemia of the T lymphocytes. These cells are numerous in the blood and also migrate into the skin. Eventually, the malignant T cells can involve the lymph nodes and other body organs. Some of the symptoms associated with Sezary Syndrome include generalized redness of the entire skin and inability to regulate body temperature. After failing several other treatments, Dr. Cooper recommended that Lannie start on one of our UH clinical trials. The investigational treatment uses an antibody that targets the malignant T cells.

Lannie states she noted significant improvement of her condition within a few weeks of receiving her first infusions. She noted her hair growing back, her skin lesions resolving, and her energy back. She now works full time and has the energy to spend quality time with her family, something she never thought she would be able to do again. Lannie is very appreciative and feels very fortunate to have been able to participate in this clinical trial which has saved her life.