News & Events

Girish has extensive experience in dealing with all dermatological conditions and is routinely asked to comment and give opinion in the press regarding developments in dermatology. He has also been interviewed for BBC radio, STV and BBC television news.

Below are some articles that have appeared recently and they may be of interest to you.

Skin Cancer continues to rise

Skin cancer incidence continues to rise in the UK with predictions that the number of sufferers will increase dramatically in the next decade. Read article here…

Scots ‘Naive’ of Skin Cancer Risks

The difficulty of slowing the rise in skin cancer cases was revealed on 16 August in a new study.  It showed that many in Scotland are unaware of the risks, failing to protect themselves and unable to recognise potentially harmful symptoms. It also showed that men are significantly at risk. Read article here…

New Treatment Approved by SMC

The Scottish Medicines consortium this month accepted the use of Picator Gel by the NHS in Scotland to be used when treating sufferers of actinic keratosis.

Dr Girish Gupta, Consultant Dermatologist, NHS Lanarkshire, commented: “As a dermatologist it is interesting that Scots will have access to a new treatment applied just once a day, for two or three days, for actinic keratosis, a common skin condition caused by sun damage. Other currently available patient applied therapies can require weeks or months of treatment.” Dr Gupta added: “To minimise the risk of developing into skin cancer early detection and treatment of actinic keratosis is important and Picato® now offers us a new option, with a strong evidence base and high levels of adherence (>98%) in clinical studies, to discuss with our patients.”

Garden Weed That Could Help Fight Off Skin Cancer:

A new treatment for skin damage that can lead to cancer has been created from the sap of a common garden weed.

Picato gel is a fast-acting treatment for actinic keratosis (AK), which appears as red, rough patches of skin often on the face, balding scalp, backs of hands and trunk of the body.

Most people haven’t heard of the condition triggered by long-term sun exposure, or using sunbeds, although it affects two million people aged 40 and over.

Picato gel could speed up the process for treating actinic keratosis, which is responsible for two-thirds of cases of squamous cell carcinoma, a non-melanoma form of skin cancer.

Existing creams prescribed by doctors take between three weeks and three months to work, so many patients give up using them.

Picato is applied once daily over two or three days and in clinical trials almost all patients completed their treatment.

Dr Girish Gupta, Consultant Dermatologist and West of Scotland Skin Cancer Lead Clinician, said ‘Few of us realise that the warning signs of skin cancer risk aren’t just about changes to moles – sun damage presenting as rough skin, called actinic keratosis, can be a sign too.

‘Damage to skin cells from sun exposure can in the long term lead to the development of skin cancer.’

The active ingredient in the gel comes from the sap of the petty spurge plant, commonly known as milkweed, which has the botanic name Euphorbia peplus.

The plant sap has been used for centuries as a traditional medicine for sun damaged skin, but recent research shows the ancient sages were right about its benefits.

The active compound was first identified in 1997 by Dr Jim Aylward, a scientist in Australia where the plant is now grown for medicinal use.

Could a new cream created from the sap of a common garden weed be the latest weapon in the fight against skin cancer?

Clinical trials show just two to three days’ treatment can reduce AK lesions by up to 83 per cent, which lasts at least a year in studies.

GP specialist Dr Stephen Kownacki, executive chair of the Primary Care Dermatology Society, said ‘When treatment is needed for AKs, in the majority of cases GPs are able to institute treatment without the patient needing to wait for a hospital referral and trips to hospital for treatment.

‘Picato is a fast-acting treatment that can be self-applied in two or three days by patients at home.  This helps patients complete their treatment course for the best effect.’

Many patients experience skin reactions such as redness, flaking and scaling, but these resolve within two to four weeks.

The prescription-only treatment costs the NHS £65 and it has been given the go-ahead for use in England, Wales and Scotland.

Charlotte Fionda, Director of Skcin, the UK’s only national skin cancer-specific charity, said ‘Sadly, public awareness of the dangers of overexposure to UV light is very low and the incidence of skin cancer and potential precursors such as AK are on the rise.

‘It is now more important than ever for the general public to be skin savvy and check their skin for any changes. Picato offers a new option for consideration by patients in partnership with their healthcare professional.’

Dr Gupta said the launch of the gel on the longest day of the year – June 21 – should act as a reminder that prolonged sun exposure could eventually lead to cancer.

‘We all want to enjoy our summer holidays but at this time of year, as we start to expose skin that has not seen strong sun over winter, our skin is particularly vulnerable to burning’, he added.

Geraldine Murphy, Managing Director of LEO Pharma, which makes the gel, said ‘The introduction of Picato in the UK and Ireland is a significant advance for patients suffering from AK. AK can lead to non-melanoma skin cancer and is a growing problem throughout the world.

‘The introduction of Picato is another step forward towards our goal of helping people achieve healthy skin.’