The Vascular Birthmarks Foundation

Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon, PhD President and Founder

New Topical Treatment for Hemangiomas Reported by AMAA

Recent article published in “Challenges in Medical and Surgical Therapeutics” by the American Medical Association (, July 2002, reports the successful use of a topical agent called “imiquimod” to treat typical infantile hemangiomas. Imiquimod – an imidazoquinoline amine – is an immune-response modifier that acts by affecting the innate and acquired immune response to challenges.

In the medical report, the imiquimod is used as a topical cream to treat hemangiomas.
Dr. Martin Mihm, Jr. (VBF’s Research Director and Scientific Advisory Committee Chair) and Dr. Igancio Sanchez-Carpintero (recipient of VBF’s First Physician Education Grant) along with Dr. Paula North (of Arkansas Children’s Hospital) and Dr. Maria Martinez (Clinica las Americas, San Jaun de Puerto Rico) authored the history-making journal.

Topical 5% imiquimod cream was initially used 3 times per week on two infants diagnosed with hemangiomas. The families of the children treated with this cream were happy with the option and the result. Current therapies include steroids, laser therapy (oral) and steroid injections and surgery. The topical cream is a welcome option to the more aggressive therapies and offers a great deal of hope to families with children diagnosed with hemangiomas.

This medical journal reports for the first time the apparent positive results from topical application of the immune-response modifier “imiquimod” in the treatment of proliferating infantile hemangiomas. Dr. Mihm is currently coordinating a more extensive study with pathologic correlation and mechanism oriented investigation. If successful, the imiquimod cream could change the way children with proliferating hemangiomas are treated world-wide.