First major scientific study into rare inflammatory skin condition

Pyoderma gangrenosum (PG) is a rare, disfiguring and very painful skin condition which affects around 360 people each year in the UK.

The condition results in large painful which take many months to heal — often with scarring. The condition is also associated with a higher risk of death. The cause of PG is not known, although often have underlying health conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis and it is still not clear how best to treat PG when it does develop.

Now, for the first time dermatology experts led by Hywel Williams, Professor of Dermato-Epidemiology at The University of Nottingham, are carrying out the largest study of its kind in the world into this painful skin condition. The hope is that the results will help change clinical practice.

The randomised controlled trial is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) as part of a Programme Grant for Applied Research awarded to the CEBD which is being managed by the Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit. 

Professor Williams, Director of the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology (CEBD), said: “Being told you have a rare and that very little evidence is out there to inform treatment because it is so uncommon is just not good enough in 2012. Many treatments have been tried, yet only one small clinical trial has ever been done on this condition. In order to guide doctors and patients about the best treatment, we have set up a national study together with University of Aberdeen to do a fair comparison of the two most commonly used treatments — oral steroids and ciclosporin.”

The search for answers

The STOP GAP Trial — Study of Treatments for Pyoderma Gangrenosum Patients — has already recruited just over a 175 patients — but more are needed before the study closes in October. It is hoped STOP GAP will provide some answers and inform clinicians on a “gold-standard” way of treating. 

There has only ever been one other randomised controlled trial into the condition. This was carried out in 2006 and had a sample size of 30 patients. STOP GAP is recruiting patients from across the UK, in around 40 hospitals, and is comparing two commonly used oral treatments — prednisolone (a steroid) and ciclosporin (an immuno-supressant). Both medicines help PG to heal to some extent but it is not clear which is best and which is safest.

For more information about the trial please go to: www.stopgaptrial.co.uk

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Patients with skin disease deserve better treatment

Apr 13, 2012

Better access to specialists, more relevant training for health professionals and the introduction of reliable data to manage services effectively — these are the recommendations of a major review carried ...

New drug trial for serious blister disease

Jun 20, 2008

It's itchy, very painful and potentially fatal but a new clinical trial by University of Nottingham scientists is hoping to give sufferers of a rare skin condition a safe and effective treatment at last.

New clinical trial to treat skin disorder begins

Mar 17, 2011

A Phase II trial to treat skin erosions in patients suffering from the severe genetic skin disorder, Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (RDEB), begins today, led by a team of scientists and clinicians ...

Recommended for you

Travel restrictions could worsen Ebola crisis: experts

2 hours ago

Travel restrictions could worsen West Africa's Ebola epidemic, limiting medical and food supplies and keeping out much-needed doctors, virologists said Tuesday as the disease continued its deadly spread.

World 'losing battle' to contain Ebola: MSF (Update)

3 hours ago

International medical agency Medecins sans Frontieres said Tuesday the world was "losing the battle" to contain Ebola as the United Nations warned of severe food shortages in the hardest-hit countries.

Mutating Ebola viruses not as scary as evolving ones

3 hours ago

My social media accounts today are cluttered with stories about "mutating" Ebola viruses. The usually excellent ScienceAlert, for example, rather breathlessly informs us "The Ebola virus is mutating faster in humans than in animal hosts ...

War between bacteria and phages benefits humans

4 hours ago

In the battle between our immune systems and cholera bacteria, humans may have an unknown ally in bacteria-killing viruses known as phages. In a new study, researchers from Tufts University, Massachusetts ...

Ebola kills 31 people in DR Congo: WHO

6 hours ago

An outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed 31 people and the epidemic remains contained in a remote northwestern region, UN the World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday.

User comments