Thalidomide and analogues: potential for immunomodulation of inflammatory and neoplastic dermatologic disorders.
Thalidomide and analogues are a class of immunomodulatory drugs or IMiDS. Thalidomide was initially approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administation for treatment of erythema nodosum in leprosy and is now approved for multiple myeloma as well. A second generation IMiD, lenalidomide, is also approved for multiple myeloma and refractory myelodysplastic syndrome. Discovery of this class of drugs has been serendipitous and empirical, as the drug targets have been unknown. In this review, the authors integrate recent identification of drug targets of IMiDS, which include the inducible form of nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), Rho GTPase and caspase-1, with the developments in the understanding of the molecular biology of human inflammatory, infectious and neoplastic skin disorders. Because thalidomide reemerged through leprosy, the original disease classified by the T cell, the authors have also emphasized advances in the understanding of T-cell subsets in human skin disorders.