The objective of clinical studies performed in the department of Dermatology is to produce new and improved knowledge in the understanding and in the treatment of common as well as rare skin disorders.
A major focus of in-house clinical research is skin cancer, the most important being melanoma, cutaneous lymphomas, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Dermatooncology is a core research topic of the University Hospital and the University of Zurich, and the patient consultations in the Department are typically coupled with supervision and consultancy through an interdisciplinary tumor board of clinicians and scientists. Since 2011, the Department hold a certification as a skin cancer center according to the strict guidelines of the German Cancer Society.
Immunodermatology is a second clinical research focus of the Department. Diseases that are studied in in-house clinical trials include autoimmune diseases, severe allergic drug reactions of the skin, and psoriasis, which is considered the paradigm of autoimmune disorders. Examples of immunodermatological trials currently ongoing are two “Investigator-initiated trials” to analyze the efficacy of Canakinumab, a monoclonal antibody targeting and neutralizing the pro-inflammatory molecule IL-1β, in pyoderma gangrenosum and in chronic urticaria.
A third clinical research focus is allergology. We conduct both epidemiologic research, and research related to diagnosis and therapy of food allergies, insect venom allergy, and hay fever, as well as atopic dermatitis or neurodermatitis, and various forms of eczema. The Allergy Unit of the department is also part of the network of 19 EU allergy centers that have joined together in the so-called Global Allergy Asthma European Network (GA2LEN), which strive and commit to high quality standards in patient care, training, and quality management, and are regularly reviewed through external audits. For this reason, the Allergy Unit is awarded access, even within EU, to international collaborative clinical or pre-clinical studies. Currently there are several multi-center studies in cooperation with centers abroad that involve food allergies, neurodermatitis, hereditary angioedema, and allergen-specific immune therapies. In addition, we conduct investigator-initiated studies for patients with mastocytosis and urticaria.