The National Rosacea Society (NRS) has awarded funding to three new studies and continues to fund three ongoing studies as part of its research grants program to advance scientific knowledge of the potential causes and other key aspects of this often life-disruptive disorder.
"Our understanding of rosacea has continued to expand as researchers pursue important new leads in the search for rosacea's causes," said Dr. Michael Detmar, professor of pharmacogenomics at the Federal Institute of Technology in Switzerland and a member of the NRS medical advisory board, which selects grant applications for funding. "We are grateful for the support of the many thousands of patients whose donations for rosacea research are leading toward important advances in its treatment and potential prevention or cure."
Dr. Jamison Feramisco, molecular medicine fellow in dermatology, and Dr. Martin Steinhoff, professor of dermatology, University of California-San Francisco, were awarded $25,000 for their study, "Cellular and molecular analysis of transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channels and neurovascular regulation in rosacea patients."
The researchers hypothesize that, based on earlier studies, the flushing, bumps and pimples of rosacea may be the result of a dysfunctional regulation in the neurovascular system, with subsequent vascular and chronic inflammatory reactions.
Their study has four aims, they noted: to establish a relationship between certain sensory nerves and immune cells in different subtypes of rosacea; to genetically characterize crucial components of the neurovascular network with regard to disease stage, gender, age and the presence or absence of Demodex mites; to investigate the role of specific temperature and irritant receptors as neurovascular regulators in mice; and to identify families suffering from rosacea with prominent trigger factor-induced flushing/redness and isolate their DNA for analysis.
Dr. Thad Wilson, associate professor of physiology and medicine; Dr. Kumika Toma, postdoctoral fellow; Dr. Michael Tomc, associate professor of otorhinolaryngology; and Dr. Dawn Sammons, assistant professor of dermatology, Ohio University, were awarded $25,000 for their study, "Role of skin sympathetic nerve activity in rosacea."
The researchers noted that events triggering flare-ups such as emotional stress and hot or cold weather are associated with fight-or-flight stressors that increase nervous activity to the skin, including skin blood flow regulation and skin gland secretions. The researchers plan to compare this nerve activity in the facial skin of rosacea patients with control areas such as leg skin.
Using microneurography, they will quantify the nerve activity during three trigger events, including mental stress, physical stress and thermal stress. If facial nerve activity is found to be higher in individuals with rosacea, therapies may then be developed to decrease symptoms and possibly prevent disease progression.
Dr. Noreen Lacey, postdoctoral researcher, and Dr. Siona Ni Raghallaigh, research fellow, University College Dublin Clinical Research Centre and Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, were awarded $25,000 to undertake their study, "Evaluation of the effect antibiotics used in the management of rosacea have on the immortalized human sebocyte cell line (SZ95) -- in vitro studies."
The researchers noted that although the effectiveness of oral antibiotics is believed to be due to their anti-inflammatory properties rather than from destroying bacteria, more powerful anti-inflammatory drugs are ineffective and may even make the condition worse.
Because patients with dry, sensitive skin often report less irritation and dryness after antibiotic treatment, the investigators analyzed the oil on the skin surface before and after treatment with antibiotics and found that abnormalities of the sebum had been altered after treatment. In the new study, the researchers will determine the effect of antibiotics on the production of lipids, as well as properties that may affect rosacea.
The NRS is also continuing to fund additional studies, including the work of Dr. Richard Gallo and colleagues at the University of California-San Diego, on the potential role of cathelicidins and the innate immune system in rosacea; Dr. Curdin Conrad and colleagues at MD Anderson Cancer Center on the role of interferon in rosacea; and Dr. Joseph Rothnagel and colleagues at The University of Queensland, Australia, on kallikreins and rosacea.