Warts: 5 Questions to Ask

By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) – Got warts? Almost everyone has them at some point in their life. Although most warts are harmless and will go away in a few weeks or months on their own according to the National Institutes of Health, those with warts might be curious enough to ask some questions about them. Here are five things to know:

  • What, exactly, are warts? Common warts are small, grainy skin growths that occur most often on fingers or hands, reports the Mayo Clinic. Rough to the touch, common warts also often feature a pattern of tiny black dots—sometimes called seeds—that are small, clotted blood vessels. Common warts are transmitted by touch. Children and young adults are more likely to develop common warts, as are people with weakened immune systems.
  • When should a doctor be consulted about warts? According to the Mayo Clinic, a doctor should been seen for common warts if the growths are painful or change in appearance or color; treatment has been attempted but the warts persist, spread or recur; the growths are bothersome and interfere with activities; or if the person with warts also has a weakened immune system because of immune-suppressing drugs, HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders.
  • What are the varieties of wart? In addition to common warts (also known as verruca vulgaris), people can have periungual warts, clustered around the fingernails or toenails; foot (plantar) warts that grow most often on the soles of the feet; flat warts, which most often are found in men in the beard area and in women on the legs; and filiform warts, which look like long threads and often grow around the mouth, eyes and nose, reports the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
  • How do dermatologists treat warts? If over-the-counter treatments do not work, options open to the dermatologist include “painting” the wart with cantharidin; cryotherapy, electrosurgery and curettage; and excision, says the AAD. If the warts are hard to treat, other therapies—including laser treatment, chemical peels and bleomycin may be used.
  • What new treatments for warts are being developed? RXi Pharmaceuticals is studying Samcyprone™, a proprietary, topical formulation of a small molecule that has been used since the late 1970s to stimulate regrowth of hair in patients with a form of baldness called alopecia areata. Recent studies have supported its use not only in that indication, but also for clearance of warts as well as cutaneous metastases of malignant melanoma.

“Samcyprone™ is an immunomodulator—a compound that initiates a response in a class of white blood cells called T-cells,” says Dr. Geert Cauwenbergh, president and CEO of RXi Pharmaceuticals. “We are currently running a Phase 2a clinical study for the treatment of cutaneous warts, which are benign epidermal tumors caused by human papillomaviruses (HPVs). It’s well established that cell-mediated immune response plays a major role in controlling HPV infections. That’s why treatment techniques such as immunotherapy have been used to activate an immune response—and why we believe Samcyprone™ holds such promise.”

For those with warts who want effective treatment, the work being done at RXi Pharmaceuticals offers the prospect of relief in the future.

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