Problem: Atopic Dermatitis/Dry Skin
Solution: Lipid-Mediated Barrier Repair
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is the most common chronic inflammatory skin disorder worldwide with an annual cost to society exceeding $5 billion in the United States alone. There is a profound decrement to the economic, social, psychological, occupational, and educational quality of life felt by the patients suffering from AD and their families.
A fundamental physiological hallmark of AD is the breakdown of the epidermal skin barrier. Very long-chain saturated fatty acids are critical components of the epidermal skin barrier, and are both necessary and sufficient molecules for the formation and maintenance of a functional barrier. Treatments of AD range from emollient moisturizers to topical and systemic steroids, and currently there are no robust preventative measures. Steroids are used to treat the inflammatory immune response that occurs following compromise of the epidermal barrier in AD patients, and although this does reduce inflammation, chronic steroid use can further perturb the problem by causing the skin to become thin and weak. Due to the moderate to severe side effects, these steroid-based drugs are not usable on all areas of the skin, such as around the eyes and on the face. To this point, lipid-enriched moisturizers have recently been reported in the literature to provide a benefit similar to steroid treatment of AD, however, current products fall short in their therapeutic potential because they are missing the fundamental lipid products that would directly serve to repair the epidermal barrier and protect against further loss of barrier integrity.
Lipid restorative measures can provide a safer, direct, and more effective means for repairing the barrier deficit in AD, reducing the need for steroid treatments. We are entering an era of precision medicine and at Lipid Biologics, we don’t argue for or against the “inside-out” (immunity triggers compromise of the barrier) or the “outside-in” (barrier breakdown triggers the immune response) hypotheses. Rather, we suggest that since barrier integrity loss is common in all cases of AD, that restoring barrier function will be of benefit to all AD patients. That is why at Lipid Biologics, we are utilizing direct transdermal delivery of lipid nanoparticles to the epidermis to provide the skin with the exact building blocks necessary to stimulate skin barrier repair and reinforce against future compromise. Our scientists have developed a novel molecular carrier to facilitate transdermal delivery of these molecules, and are currently testing their safety and efficacy in skin barrier protection and barrier repair.
Our skin's epidermal barrier, the stratum corneum, is composed of skin cells with various proteins and lipids that when combined, serve to retain water and keep out environmental antigens. The critical components of this barrier are very long-chain saturated fatty acid products incorporated into functional lipid molecules. These molecules are condensed into the epidermal layers and serve as both necessary and sufficient components of the stratum corneum.