During oncology treatment, patients’ skin requires special care. Products such as Aveeno® Restorative Skin Therapy can help patients of all skin types avoid severe
cutaneous adverse reactions, so they can focus on life-saving therapies.
When Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health set out its Healthy Lives
year, the company committed to addressing complex, preventable health issues —
namely, eradicating smoking and preventable skin cancers — by collaborating on
initiatives both inside and outside the company.
One area the company has been investigating is the need for tailored skincare
for people with highly sensitized skin — including cancer patients. Taking
advantage of the ability to partner with oncology experts at its pharmaceutical
division, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a team pioneered research to study
the skin damage that may occur in people who are undergoing systemic cancer
Personal and professional connections
The study resulted from a conversation at a 2017 drug delivery conference.
Georgios Stamatas, PhD — a research associate director and fellow on the
Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health team — recognized the name of a speaker,
Mario Monshouwer, PhD from Janssen Research & Development, and connected
with him. The two bonded over shared experiences of family members impacted by
cancer and discussed its dramatic impact on quality of life.
From their personal and professional experiences, it was clear that — while the
ultimate goal when treating cancer is to save lives, certain treatments can
affect surrounding tissue and create skin, gut and urinary problems. In some
cases, the appearance of skin rashes during treatment actually correlates with
higher patient survival rates.
The result is a first-of-its-kind scientific study published in BMC Cancer,
which uncovered how certain oncology therapies negatively affect the skin
barrier. Skin-related side effects are frequent: 45 to 100 percent of cancer
patients experience symptoms of impaired skin barrier function — including skin
inflammation, infection and dryness. Importantly, this new study found that
certain classes of oncology drugs can have a direct effect on the formation of
the skin barrier; an abnormal skin barrier can be the reason for the observed
cutaneous adverse reactions.
During oncology therapy, patients’ skin requires special care to preserve its
proper barrier function and decrease adverse reactions. Scientists used several
unique methods to demonstrate the effects of oncology therapy on the skin
barrier. By understanding the interconnection between the kinase inhibitor
therapies used in oncology
treatment and skin health, it becomes possible to test strategies to support
skin health during and after treatments, so patients can focus on life-saving
therapies. In further research using
the team discovered the actual molecular pathways in skin cells that are
affected by certain kinase inhibitors. These pathways are involving processes
linked to skin barrier formation, inflammation and oxidative stress. The results
of these investigations were published this month in JID Innovations.
The emerging field of skincare for cancer patients
The team conducted research to understand which ingredients and products could
potentially be used prophylactically to help reduce side effects and treatment
interruption. These results influenced another study from Johnson & Johnson
Consumer Health on the impact of the Aveeno® Restorative Skin Therapy
regimen for patients undergoing systemic oncology treatments, which were
recently presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of
The study found that Aveeno Restorative Skin Therapy provides “significant”
improvement of quality of life for cancer patients’ skin and itch relief.
“Cancer patients undergoing treatment frequently report negative, skin-related
side effects such as xerosis and pruritus — or dry skin and itch; yet, there are
few studies evaluating potential remedies,” Stamatas said. “Our deep knowledge
of the therapeutic benefits of oat led us to believe the Aveeno daily skincare
regimen can help replenish the skin barrier in cancer patients who experience
xerosis and pruritus due to systemic oncological treatment.”
Aveeno® Restorative Skin Therapy
Aveeno Restorative Skin
Therapy was developed with
cancer patients’ unique skincare needs in mind. The product regimen was
clinically tested in partnership with leading oncodermatologist, Dr. Mario
Lacouture, PhD. The gentle formulations are free of fragrances, parabens,
sulphates and dyes; and 91 percent of study participants reported an improvement
in dry skin within three weeks of using the Aveeno Restorative Skin Therapy
The regimen consists of three products: Oat Repairing Cream, Sulphate-Free
Body Wash and Itch Relief Balm. The products harness properties of
naturally derived ingredients such as oat — a powerful antioxidant known to
moisturize and soothe dry skin, aloe — which is known to soothe skin, and
Pro-Vitamin B5 — which helps to heal dry skin.
These studies reflect Johnson & Johnson’s unique position as one of a few
consumer companies with the ability to conduct research with its own
pharmaceutical or medical device colleagues.
“Through this work, we hope to improve the quality of life of patients during
therapy by identifying ways to avoid severe cutaneous adverse drug reactions
that can alter or even halt recommended treatment therapy, so patients can focus
on life-saving therapies,” said Caroline Tillett, Global Head of R&D at
Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health.
The company remains committed to advancing the understanding of the impact of
cancer therapies on skin health and sensitive skin; and developing practical
solutions to help people of all skin types protect their skin, continue their
therapy and live healthy lives.