// Healthy Kids Magazine
called crisaborole, targets enzymes that
mediate inflammation in the skin and
was developed with extensive input and
research from the Rady Children’s group.”
Another breakthrough therapy is
dupilumab, which blocks inflamma-
tory molecules and has already been
approved for adults. Researchers have
begun pediatric trials to extend these
benefits to younger patients. There are
many more innovations in the pipeline.
“Studies of three biologic agents, three
new oral medications and new topical
medications are in process or expected
in the near future,” Dr. Eichenfield says.
Kawasaki disease is considered a rare condition, but in 2017,
Rady Children’s specialists saw 109 new patients. The Hospital’s
Kawasaki Disease Clinic is following over 1,500 families.
Although KD is the most common cause of acquired heart
disease, it is poorly understood and potentially deadly.
Symptoms include fever, rash, bloodshot eyes, and red
tongue, hands, and feet. Unfortunately, clinicians don’t al-
ways diagnose KD at first, and delays can be dangerous.
“Damage is done early in disease,” says Jane Burns, MD,
director of the Kawasaki Disease Clinic and professor of pedi-
atrics at UCSD. “If you don’t get to children early and treat them,
one in four will develop irreversible coronary artery damage.”
KD is a complex ge-
netic disease involving
multiple genes. There
are theories as to what
pollution—but no one
knows for sure yet.
The current treat-
ment is intravenous
which protects the heart,
but some kids don’t
respond to it. It’s also
pricey, and children
in developing nations
often go untreated.
“IVIG is the most ex-
pensive product in our
pharmacy,” Dr. Burns
says. “The average cost for a toddler is $15,000 to $20,000.”
The team is looking at infliximab, an anti-inflammatory
therapy approved for Crohn’s disease. They are studying
whether infliximab, rather than a second dose of IVIG, is
better for kids who don’t respond to IVIG. Infliximab costs
significantly less than IVIG.
In another effort to repurpose an existing drug, one of
Dr. Burns’s team members, Adriana Tremoulet, MD, is also
studying atorvastatin, commonly known by the brand name
Lipitor. Early studies have shown that the cholesterol-
lowering drug may heal coronary artery damage in children
Better Treatments for
KD is a complex
genes. There are
theories as to
what causes it,
but no one knows
for sure yet.
“After no new
drug approvals for
eczema since 2001,
there are two first-in-class
in the last few