Chronic skin diseases such as rosazea, psoriasis, urticaria or atopic dermatitis affect a growing number of patients. These diseases are accompanied with a deficiency in skin barrier function. They can be very stressful to the patients and can be accompanied by severe comorbidities or secondary diseases. The treatment of chronic skin diseases is thus based on two approaches: 1. the treatment of the primary disease with pharmaceutical actives and 2. a rigorous basic treatment to improve the barrier function of the diseased skin. Both are often inadequate. My research therefore focuses on the optimization of both, topical dosage forms containing pharmaceutical actives and drug-free formulations intended for basic therapy.
The necessity to apply topical dosage forms several times per day often leads to poor patient compliance and thereby limits the efficacy of the treatment. One of my aims is therefore to develop topical dosage forms with sustained release of the active to the skin. Thereby, the application frequency can be reduced, patient compliance and treatment efficacy can be improved.
Furthermore, improved basic therapeutics will be developed. These aim to deliver lipids to the skin in order to replace the missing lipids which are one reason for the deficient skin barrier function. Thereby, the barrier function can be improved leading to reduced severity and decreased frequency of relapses.
Both of these research areas lack predictive in-vitro and ex-vivo models. Thus, the development of such models comprises a substantial part of my projects. The development and/or optimization of the methods will always be done using a relevant model formulation. So that both, predictive methods and optimized formulations will be available at the end of the projects. The goal is to provide a base for further developments and improvements in the topical therapy of chronic skin diseases so that the patients´ well-being can be improved in the long term.
Among the analytical methods confocal Raman microscopy/microspectroscopy (CRM) will play a major role. CRM has been increasingly used over the past years to evaluate both the inner structure of formulations as well as tissues and interaction of xenobiotics with tissues. As it is chemically sensitive, non-destructive and label free, it is a promising tool for the evaluation of several aspects of formulation development. In previous projects I already used CRM for characterization of topical dosage forms and skin penetration of active substances and its use will be intensified as part of my research projects.