National Rosacea Society Awards New Grants For Medical Research

BARRINGTON, Illinois (November 7, 2011) - The National Rosacea Society (NRS) announced that it has awarded funding to three new studies in addition to continuing support for five ongoing studies as part of its research grants program to increase knowledge and understanding of the potential causes and other key aspects of rosacea, which is now estimated to affect more than 16 million Americans.

"We are pleased to award new grants for these additional avenues of rosacea research that may lead to important advances in its treatment and potential prevention or cure," said Dr. Jonathan Wilkin, chairman of the NRS Medical Advisory Board, which selects grant applications for funding. "Studies to date have made significant progress toward the more effective control of this disorder, and we are grateful for the support of the many thousands of patients whose donations make these studies possible."

Dr. Ferda Cevikbas, postdoctoral fellow at the University of California-San Francisco, and colleagues were awarded $25,000 to assess the role of PACAP, a neuropeptide that may affect rosacea. They plan to define the distribution of PACAP in skin samples from rosacea patients, determine whether PACAP induces inflammation and test whether cathelicidin - a known factor in rosacea's pathophysiology - modulates the release of PACAP. The researchers also plan to test whether countering the effects of PACAP is beneficial and may thus be used as a rosacea therapy.

Dr. Edward Wladis, assistant professor of ophthalmology at Albany Medical College, was awarded $12,100 to identify specific cytokines - molecules that regulate the immune system - that are involved in ocular rosacea by studying eyelid tissue from individuals with and without the disorder. Dr. Wladis noted that while inflammation is normally a healthy part of the immune response, aberrations in the cytokines' concentrations and functioning in rosacea may result in unhealthy prolonged inflammation.

This knowledge may have significant therapeutic implications for ocular rosacea, as medications have been designed to suppress specific cytokines. Dr. Wladis will also investigate the role of toll-like receptors (TLRs) - proteins that identify invading agents and alert the innate immune system to begin protective reactions.

Dr. Richard Granstein, chairman of dermatology at Cornell University, and colleagues were awarded $25,000 to study the potential role of Th17 cells, a newly discovered class of cells that appear to be involved in a number of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. Earlier study results strongly indicated that release of ATP - a neurotransmitter and carrier of chemical energy throughout the body - from nerves under stressful situations may initiate a sequence of events leading to or exacerbating inflammation in the skin. This study will investigate whether this inflammation results because Th17 cells are produced during this process in rosacea.

The NRS is also continuing to fund studies by Dr. Richard Gallo and colleagues at the University of California-San Diego on the potential role of cathelicidins in rosacea; Dr. Joseph Rothnagel and colleagues at the University of Queensland, Australia, on kallikreins and rosacea; Dr. Thad Wilson and colleagues at Ohio University on nerve activity in rosacea; Dr. Aki Ikoma and colleagues at the University of California-San Francisco on the neurovascular system and rosacea; and Dr. Noreen Lacey and colleagues at the University College in Ireland on the effect of antibiotics on sebocyte cells in rosacea.

Researchers interested in applying for grants may obtain forms and instructions through the research grants section of the NRS Web site,, or by contacting the National Rosacea Society, 196 James Street, Barrington, Illinois 60010, telephone 1-888-662-5874, e-mail The deadline for submitting proposals to receive a research grant in 2012 is April 16, 2012.

Because the cause of rosacea is unknown, a high priority in awarding grants is given to studies relating to its pathogenesis, progression, mechanism of action, cell biology and potential genetic factors. Proposals relating to epidemiology, predisposition, quality of life and relationships with environmental and lifestyle factors may also be considered.

Members of the NRS medical advisory board include Dr. Jonathan Wilkin, former director of dermatologic and dental drug products for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Dr. Mark Dahl, professor emeritus of dermatology at Mayo Clinic-Scottsdale and former American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) president; Dr. Michael Detmar, professor of pharmacogenomics, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland; Dr. Lynn Drake, Harvard Medical School and former AAD president; Dr. Marian Macsai, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Chicago; Dr. David Norris, chairman of dermatology, University of Colorado and former president of the Society for Investigative Dermatology; Dr. Richard Odom, professor of clinical dermatology, University of California-San Francisco and former president of the AAD; Dr. Frank Powell, consultant dermatologist, Regional Centre of Dermatology, Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Dublin, Ireland; and Dr. Bryan Sires, clinical associate professor of ophthalmology, University of Washington.

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Publication Date: 
Monday, November 7, 2011

Press contacts:
Mary Erhard, Emma Terhaar

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The National Rosacea Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of people with rosacea by raising awareness, providing public health information and supporting medical research on this widespread but little-known disorder. The information the Society provides should not be considered medical advice, nor is it intended to replace

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