Winston-Salem’s KeraNetics Gets FDA Approval for Product Fighting Radiation Dermatitis
Radiation therapy takes a heavy toll on the human body. There’s hair loss, fatigue, shortness of breath, fever, and the lesser known radiation dermatitis (RD). This painful side effect causes the skin to burn, blister, peel, form ulcers, and even necrose.
In many cases, radiation therapy is necessary to kill unhealthy cells like cancer. However, it also brings side effects. In severe cases, RD can delay radiation treatments, resulting in decreased quality of care which neither doctor nor patient can prevent. About 85% of cancer patients participating in radiation therapy experience RD and 25% of patients have severe symptoms.
Winston-Salem-startup KeraNetics is tackling RD through their use of keratin in gels, creams, and powders. While keratin is often referred to in terms of shining and straightening hair, it is also a natural component of skin. Keratin strengthens exterior cells in the body to protect damaged tissues underneath, which allows the skin to heal properly.
KeraNetics announced the Food and Drug Administration approval for its KeraStat Cream targeting RD. The product works by giving the dry and damaged skin a moist environment suitable for healing and acting as an environmental barrier, much as keratin in the body does naturally. It has been largely tested on patients with breast cancer and is in the process of treating head and neck cancers. There were previously no effective treatments.
In situations where radiation is debilitating but also necessary to treat other conditions, KeraStat can greatly improve quality of life. It not only reduces physical symptoms, but deters the mental anguish present when fighting both cancer and RD. It is tangible healing when hope is necessary.
KeraStat has other unique applications relevant to national security. The product has been found effective to treat Cutaneous Radiation Injury, an unsolved and potentially fatal skin condition that could be caused by events such as nuclear terrorism and nuclear warfare.