UCSF Fresno conducts study on chronic skin condition

UCSF Fresno officials are hopeful the study will give them more answers that will allow HS patients to live a normal life.

Amanda Aguilar Image
Friday, September 2, 2022
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UCSF Fresno is taking action to help those with a chronic skin problem live pain-free.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- UCSF Fresno is taking action to help those with a chronic skin problem live pain-free.

"I've been doing DERM for like 17 years and these people are all pretty miserable," explained Dr. Gregory Simpson.

According to the UCSF Fresno dermatologist, Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) is a condition he wouldn't wish on anyone.

He described it as inverse acne.

"A lot of these lesions act like deep cystic acne type bumps, but these things are located in the underarms and in the groin area or in any sort of rolls of skin," said Dr. Simpson.

HS is being diagnosed in the Valley.

"We see it every week," Simpson shared.

The painful condition is inherited, but not contagious. Flareups usually start in teenagers or young adults.

Unfortunately, there's no cure, and Dr. Simpson said treatments don't always work well.

"Pretty much every time you wake up in the morning, your bed is covered in pus or blood or something like that," he said.

Dr. Simpson and Dr. Luis Dehesa -- a dermatologist and associate clinical professor at UCSF -- are co-principal investigators for a new study looking at potential treatments for HS.

"What we're doing here is having a clinical trial of a medication that's used for rheumatoid arthritis," explained Dr. Simpson. "It's an anti-inflammatory medication that hopefully will stop these abscesses from forming in the first place."

Participants in the UCSF Fresno study will either receive an injection or placebo every week for four months.

"When we don't have a good treatment for this, these people a lot of times are suicidal and have high depression rates," Dr. Simpson said.

UCSF Fresno officials are hopeful the study will give them more answers that will allow HS patients to live a normal life.