Dr. James Leyden, emeritus professor of dermatology at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, reflected on his 50-year career of treating acne and rosacea during a scientific session at the American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting in San Diego last week.
There now appears to be substantial evidence that the innate immune system is playing a role in rosacea, he said. The role of the innate immune system in rosacea has been the focus of groundbreaking studies supported by the National Rosacea Society (NRS), including the discovery of irregularities of key components known as cathelicidins. Further research has now demonstrated that a marked increase in mast cells, located at the interface between the nervous system and vascular system, is a common link in all major presentations of the disorder. Other studies have documented a possible genetic component, as well as the potential role of the human microbiome.
There is so much new evidence gathering at a fairly rapid pace that we now have potential targets for new therapies which will eventually be explored, Dr. Leyden said. “I think whoever gives a talk in 20 years about his or her 50 years of experience will have a lot more to say about specific treatments for rosacea.”
The NRS research grants program has funded major advances in the understanding of this disorder, and rosacea patients are urged to donate.