LA BioMed Launches Groundbreaking Study on Deadly Skin Infections

Taking aim at one of the nation’s most common - but understudied - diseases, a team of local investigators have launched a groundbreaking study to determine the effectiveness of treatments for antibiotic-resistant skin infections.

The investigators from LA BioMed, one of the nation’s leading independent nonprofit research institutes, have been awarded a $5.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for their study, Short and Long Term Outcomes of Doxycycline Versus Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole for Skin and Soft Tissue Infections Treatment.

“Skin infections are among the most common infections seen in urgent care, emergency departments and clinics across the world,” said Loren Miller, MD, MPH, Associate Chief in the Division of Adult Infectious Diseases at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Principal Investigator at LA BioMed. “But physicians just don’t have a good handle on what are the most effective and safest drugs to treat skin infections. We’re trying to answer that important question and provide evidence that could lead to more effective treatments.”

The frequency of skin infections has risen 50 percent through the last decade. There are more than 10 million skin infections annually in the U.S., costing our health system about $8 billion a year. Many of these skin infections are caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacterium resistant to many widely-used antibiotics.

The project will include a 4-year clinical trial at LA BioMed in Torrance and at Washington University in St. Louis. A total of 462 patients suffering from skin infections will be enrolled and monitored by investigators for a year. The investigators will examine how well certain antibiotics treat infections, how infections recur and how those that do recur can be prevented.  

“We will soon have important answers about a disease that strikes with increasing frequency,” said David Meyer, Ph.D, LA BioMed President and CEO. “The NIH grant will allow LA BioMed investigators to launch an in-depth and comprehensive clinical trial into one of the world’s most poorly-understood infectious diseases.”

The first participants will be enrolled in the clinical trial later this month. Along with studying the effectiveness of skin infection therapies, the grant funding will also allow investigators to give comprehensive and accurate descriptions detailing individual and group outcomes from the clinical trials. Additionally, investigators will use professional and experienced community partners throughout the trial, to ensure patient needs are met while they are enrolled in the trials.

“LA BioMed continues to be a leader in researching diseases and developing effective therapies,” Meyer said.