October 05, 2013
2 min read

Latest laser treatments, new ways to create tissue presented at ASDS

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CHICAGO — Forward-thinking technology, from laser treatment for port-wine stains and acne to harvesting full thickness columns of skin to place in recent wounds to creating epidermal blisters to heal vitiligo, was presented during a lecture at the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery annual meeting.

R. Rox Anderson, MD, professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School and director of the Wellman Center for photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, presented the inaugural Leadership in Innovation lecture Friday.

Anderson co-developed the concept of microscopic target-selective laser therapy that is the basis for laser treatment of pediatric port-wine stains, pigmented lesions, tattoos and hair removal.

“If you want to make progress, you have to somehow really care about problems actually worth solving … we are the people that take care of humanity’s skin, so you run into problems worth solving”  Anderson told the audience. “If you get passionate … you end up with tools and know-how … Motivation [also] is really important.”

Rox Anderson 

R. Rox Anderson

Anderson said he was really passionate about treating children in the ’70s and ’80s with port wine stains.

Lasers have been successful with tattoo and hair removal, as well, and Anderson has studied how lasers can work to treat acne.

“If we can remove hair, why can’t we go after sebaceous glands?” he asked.

He said he has helping to develop a new laser that might effectively treat acne, but that he would know more about its effectiveness by next year.

He also discussed microscopic laser tools that treat scar tissues.

And, he talked about new ways to make new tissue.

“Is there some ways we can make large wounds heal by remodeling instead of scarring?” Anderson asked.

Over the past three years, he has worked on a project to create a double-pointed harvesting needle that removed full thickness columns of human skin that were transferred to fresh wounds and healed the skin in animal experiments.

“I think we’re on the threshold of being able to make a practical device … it’s surgery but surgery [on a] very small scale,” he said.

He also has worked on research in which large areas of epidermal blisters are created and applied to a standard surgical dressing, to treat children with vitiligo, along with laser treatment.

“My pitch to you as the community of surgeons who take care of the skin [is] we created this tool but there’s still a lack of prospective large trials, and I think there’s a huge opportunity to take … these types of technologies forward,” Anderson said.