Gut-skin axis may hold the answer to hidradenitis suppurativa, says GlobalData

At the end of September, results were presented at the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) Congress from a study exploring patterns in the rare skin disease hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). Currently, effective therapies for the disease are limited, leading to great unmet need for better treatment options. HS-specific patterns in patients’ skin and gut microbiomes in this study suggest that similar to psoriasis (PsO), HS may be a good candidate indication for microbiome-targeting therapeutics acting via the gut-skin axis, which is the relationship between the immune system and the neuro-endocrine systems of the gut and the skin, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Chris Pilis, Immunology Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “In the study presented at EADV 2021, McCarthy and colleagues confirmed reduced microbiome alpha and beta diversity in HS, as well as abnormally elevated levels of bacterial strains such as Clostridium ramosum in fecal samples and Finegoldia magna on skin samples of HS patients. Notably, Ruminococcus gnavus was over-abundant in the fecal microbiome of HS patients, a finding similarly reported in Crohn’s disease. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a relatively common comorbidity of HS, affecting about 1–3% of patients. It is possible that common microbiota alterations in HS and IBD could serve as a link between these comorbid conditions.”

A lack of microbial diversity in both the skin and gut have been found to play a critical role in the pathology of other dermatological indications, particularly those having a more systemic pattern of disease manifestation, such as PsO, a disease that is also frequently associated with IBD.

As explored in GlobalData’s recent report ‘Microbiome –Targeted Therapeutics in Immunology’ there is currently one microbiome-targeting pipeline candidate for PsO, Evelo Biosciences’ EDP-1815, which targets skin symptoms via the modulation of gut microbiota. Evelo recently announced positive Phase IIb (NCT04603027) data for the drug in PsO and is about to initiate Phase IIa studies of the same drug for treatment of atopic dermatitis.

Pilis adds: “No microbiome-targeting therapies are currently under development for HS, but the data presented at EADV 2021 suggest that this disease may be a good candidate for a microbiome-targeting approach similar to that used in PsO.”

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