The National Rosacea Society (NRS) has awarded funding for five new studies as part of its research grants program to increase knowledge and understanding of the potential causes and other key aspects of rosacea.
"We are very gratified to fund these new studies, which will both build on recent results of rosacea research and forge new paths toward improvements in its treatment, prevention and potential cure," said Dr. Mark Dahl, chairman of the NRS Medical Advisory Board, which selects grant applications for funding. "As always, we are indebted to the many thousands of patients whose donations make these important advances possible."
Dr. Anna Di Nardo, associate professor of medicine at the University of California-San Diego, was awarded $25,000 to study the role of mast cells as a possible link between an overabundance of the antimicrobial peptides called cathelicidins in individuals with rosacea and the inflammation that appears on rosacea skin. Dr. Di Nardo will endeavor to identify inflammation-causing enzymes that are produced by mast cells as well as the influence of neuropeptides on the formation of these key enzymes.
Drs. Meg Gerstenblith and Daniel Popkin, assistant professors of dermatology at Case Western Reserve University, were awarded $10,000 to study the incidence of rosacea in fraternal and identical twins, recruited at the annual Twins Day festival in Ohio. The study aims to document potential genetic factors by determining if there is a statistically significant difference in the correlation of rosacea between identical and fraternal twins.
Drs. Ulf Meyer-Hoffert and Thomas Schwartz of the Department of Dermatology, University Clinic Schleswig-Holstein, were awarded $20,000 to study whether and how kallikreins, enzymes that contribute to inflammation in rosacea, can activate cytokines, which might contribute to the disease activity. The investigators will also research inhibitors of this substance that could have the potential to treat the disease.
Dr. Barbara Summerer, postdoctoral research fellow in dermatology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, was awarded $25,000 to use sophisticated analytical technology to evaluate specific microbes in rosacea patients. She will further use epifluorescence microscopy to identify possible biofilms — communities of bacteria that adhere to surfaces — that may exist in rosacea patients, as well as the differences in types of bacteria present in subtype 1 (erythematotelangiectatic) rosacea and subtype 2 (papulopustular) rosacea, so that therapy can target these bacteria.
Dr. Yoshikazu Uchida, associate research dermatologist, and Dr. Peter Elias, professor of dermatology, at the University of California-San Francisco, were awarded $20,000 to study whether and how enhancing the production of human beta-defensin 2 and conversely suppressing the production of cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide, part of the body's innate immune system, may help suppress the excess of inflammation-causing peptides found in rosacea skin.
The NRS is also continuing to fund studies by Dr. Richard Granstein at Cornell University on the potential role of Th17 cells in rosacea and Dr. Edward Wladis at Albany Medical College on identifying cytokines involved in ocular rosacea.