Lauren C. Cook, MD

Aug 9, 2023 | 2016 Grant Recipients

Lauren C. Cook, MD
Pennsylvania State University, College of Medicine
Hershey, PA
2016 Research Grant Recipient

Microbiome of Hidradenitis Suppurativa Lesions

Mentor Amanda Nelson, Ph.D.

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), also known as acne inversa, is a chronic, painful inflammatory disease. It affects the pilosebaceous unit and leaves patients with cysts, nodules, and draining sinus tracts. The occasional efficacy of antibiotics in HS suggests a role for bacteria in the etiology of the disease, although, this remains controversial as many HS lesions do not show signs of primary infection.

We plan to test the hypothesis that the skin surface microbiome and follicular microbiome in peri-lesional skin of HS patients is different than the microbiome of normal volunteers. By using skin surface swabbing and follicular biopsy, we will collect samples of the microbiome of Hurley stage II or III (moderate to severe) HS patients and normal volunteers. We will sample two separate anatomical locations: peri-lesional skin in the superior aspect of the axilla and groin.

With advancing technology in microbiomics and metagenomics, it is now possible to study the complete microbiome of this disease, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses, in an efficient way. As there is a lack of consistently effective treatments for HS, a goal of this study is ultimately to gain insight into the disease, through its microbiome, in order to develop more specific and efficacious treatments in the future.

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