The National Rosacea Society has awarded funding for three new studies, in addition to continuing support for two ongoing studies, as part of its research grants program. The purpose of the grant program is to increase knowledge and understanding of the causes and other key aspects of rosacea that may lead to improvements in its management, prevention or potential cure.
“Research supported by the NRS has led to important insights into the physiology of the disorder, providing an essential foundation for developing new and better treatments,” said Dr. Martin Steinhoff, chairman of dermatology and director of the Charles Institute of Dermatology, University College, Dublin, and a member of the NRS Medical Advisory Board, which selects research proposals for funding. “In addition, our growing knowledge is now pointing toward potentially meaningful connections between rosacea and other systemic illnesses.”
The NRS research grants program is funded by thousands of individuals who suffer from rosacea, and readers are encouraged to donate by renewing their memberships today.
Dr. Luis Garza, associate professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins University, and colleagues were awarded $15,000 to study epigenetic lesions in rosacea. Epigenetics is the study of how the essential DNA – the molecule that contains the genetic instructions – might be modified to behave in certain ways. They noted that this process may be responsible for why rosacea persists even though keratinocytes, the predominant cell type in the outermost layer of skin, slough off and are replaced approximately every two months.
Dr. Wenqing Li, assistant professor of dermatology at Brown University, was awarded $25,000 to clarify how hormone use and hormone levels associated with menopause and during pregnancy may affect the risk of developing rosacea. The study will use data from the well-known Nurses’ Health Study II, an ongoing prospective study updated biennially with questionnaires on the medical history of 116,000 nurses since 1989, including more than 6,000 women diagnosed with rosacea.
Dr. Anna Di Nardo, associate professor of dermatology at the University of California-San Diego, and colleagues were awarded $25,000 to continue their quest to determine whether the release of cathelicidin antimicrobial peptides, key players in the body’s normal innate immune system, is central to the connection between the nervous system and skin inflammation through the activation of mast cells in rosacea. In previous research, Dr. Di Nardo showed that mast cells were highly significant in the overproduction of cathelicidins.
The NRS has also continued to fund studies in 2016 by Dr. Gideon Smith, assistant physician in dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital and instructor at Harvard University, and colleagues, who are investigating whether individuals with rosacea may be at higher risk for other disorders involving the vascular system, such as heart disease and high cholesterol; and Dr. Lori Lee Stohl, research associate in dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical School, who is examining how biochemicals released during stress may increase the number of mast cells, which have been linked to rosacea.
These studies join more than 60 research projects that have received funding from the NRS research grants program since 2000.