Raj Chovatiya, MD, PhD: Takeaways from New Data on Vitiligo, Atopic Dermatitis, HS Treatments


This post-AAD interview with Chovatiya covered takeaways regarding recent data on upadacitinib for vitiligo, tapinarof for eczema, and lutikizumab for hidradenitis suppurativa.

Following the 2024 American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) conference in San Diego, several new studies on treating various dermatologic diseases were presented, with data on such conditions as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis (AD), and hidradenitis suppurativa (HS).

During his latest interview with the HCPLive team, Raj Chovatiya, MD, PhD, MSCI, FAAD, associate professor at Rosalind Franklin University Chicago Medical School and founder/director of the Center for Medical Dermatology and Immunology Research, spoke on several of the major data covered at AAD and gave his own views on their findings.

At first, Chovatiya was asked about the new 52-week data presented at the conference on oral upadacitinib for treatment of nonsegmental vitiligo.

“Vitiligo is seeing another exciting moment in therapeutic development as well, in part because we're really trying to push JAK inhibitors beyond the topical route for this disease,” Chovatiya said. “So of course, topical ruxolitinib has been a really important game changing medication for this disease..But the question has always been for somebody that has higher body surface areas or for somebody that just can't practically apply a cream every single day for multiple years, given the fact that there are slow results when it comes to thinking about treatment and repigmentation, could an oral molecule do the heavy lifting?”

This is where the new upadacitinib data comes in, he noted. Chovatiya explained that after a year, clinicians can really help patients see higher levels of re-pigmentation, not only in the facial region but also some harder to re-pigment areas around the body.

Later, Chovatiya was asked about the significance of the tapinarof data on a patient cohort of atopic dermatitis with skin of color. He himself had served as a co-author on the study.

“When it comes to the treatment of tapinarof, the results were nearly identical across all the different socio-demographic variables that were analyzed, and even light and dark skin tone, suggesting that what we have come to know from other therapies definitely appears to be true for tapinarof,” Chovatiya said. “But the important wrinkle is this was one of the most diverse trials we've had in recent memory, with an extraordinarily high percentage of individuals identifying as diverse skin types.”

Chovatiya noted that the significance is that it represented some of the more ‘powered’ data on the drug and that it formally tells the research team what dermatologists have been known that scores at baseline and treatments can vary based on an individual's perception of erythema, hyper and hypopigmentation.

Lastly, Chovatiya was asked about the newly-presented phase 2 data on lutikizumab for HS.

“This is exciting because any drug that can achieve superiority over placebo in the HS world is exciting,” he said. “It's really hard to do, given how many trials haven't successfully been able to get there because of a variety of factors; unpredictable placebo rates, a very waxing and waning disease, questions about whether or not we're looking at the right endpoint at the right time. So it's very intriguing to think about a drug that maybe is acting at a very key, early, and underlying cytokine across a lot of the inflammation and disease. I'm particularly interested once this moves on to phase three, what this potentially might look like.”

To learn more about Chovatiya’s views on the data presented at AAD, view the full interview segment posted above.

The quotes contained in this summary were edited for the purposes of clarity.

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