Katrina Abuabara, MD: How to Monitor Long-Term Control of Atopic Dermatitis in Clinical Research, Practice?

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In this Q&A interview with Abuabara, she discusses some of the major takeaways from her Revolutionizing Atopic Dermatitis presentation on long-term control of eczema.

Katrina Abuabara, MD, MA, MSCE, a researcher and dermatologist at the University of California, San Francisco, spoke with HCPLive in a Q&A interview about some of the biggest takeaways from her presentation at the Revolutionizing Atopic Dermatitis (RAD) 2023 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

Abuabara is known for her work as a dermatologist and for her research lab in which her team studies the processes of aging and atopic dermatitis (AD). She is also known for her work with the UC Berkeley school of Public Health, at which her research focuses on impacts of the sociocultural and physical environment on people's health outcomes.

In this Q&A with HCPLive, Abuabara discussed some of her research, some of the most important points she had expressed in her RAD presentation, and general information on long-term AD control.

Abuabara's presentation was titled 'How to monitor long-term control in clinical research and practice?' In this interview, she discussed a bit about her research and clinical background, as well as the focus of her lab’s work and its relationship with inflammatory diseases such as AD.

“In addition to seeing patients 1 day a week, I also run a research group, sort of a dry lab,” she explained. “We mostly focus on data science and we study the long term course and comorbidities of eczema, the impact of environmental factors on immune mediated inflammatory diseases—including eczema—and also how the aging skin barrier contributes to inflammation and more general processes involved in aging.”

Abuabara was also asked about long-term control of AD and the process which identified long-term control of the condition as one of the major outcome domains for the condition.

“You know, these are sort of intuitive concepts, in a sense,” she stated. “But trying to define, if we asked you to put a number of days on it…you ask 10 eczema patients, they will all probably have a different number of days in terms of what's short versus long term control. And that's what makes it complex to measure.”

She added that eczema, by definition, is characterized by intense and varying intensities of symptoms over time, adding that the condition’s symptoms itself are really heterogeneous.

“The symptoms themselves are really heterogeneous,” she added. “If you look at a textbook, there's usually like 20 different pictures in there of what eczema can look like. And the symptoms extend beyond the skin. So different aspects of the disease are important to different individuals, and what constitutes adequate control will vary between individuals.”

Abuabara continued along this line of discussion, adding that the phrase long term control is a concept that may have some variability.

“Also over time as the patients, sort of, are at different stages of their disease, they may have different standards of control,” she explained. “And also those standards may shift with newer, better medications and treatments. And so it's a tricky concept, in terms of data, what exactly is meant by long term control.”

She also added that the recommended ways to measure long-term control of the disease in patients are to ask about symptoms over the prior week, but repeated measurements are widely-known to be necessary to get a sense of what long term control looks like.

For more information about presentations and the contents of these discussions, view our RAD conference coverage.

The quotes contained in this Q&A interview were edited for clarity.