The National Rosacea Society announced that the first research proposals have been selected for funding by its medical advisory board as part of the Society's new research grants program to encourage and support the advancement of scientific knowledge of rosacea and how to control it.
"These are well-conceived studies, and we hope to receive many more grant requests of this high quality in the future," said Dr. Jonathan Wilkin, chairman of the Society's medical advisory board. "The results should not only help identify the causes and other key aspects of rosacea, but also stimulate further research to improve the lives of the millions who suffer from this poorly understood disorder."
A grant of $24,500 was awarded to Dr. Mina Yaar, professor of dermatology at the Boston University School of Medicine, to study whether a natural substance in the body called vascular endothelial growth factor, which has a potent effect on blood vessels, may be associated with the development of rosacea by abnormally affecting facial blood supply. She noted that secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor is induced after ultraviolet irradiation such as exposure to the sun, which is frequently reported to trigger rosacea flare-ups, and that a molecule might be designed to prevent the release of this substance.
The Society awarded $25,000 to Dr. Robert A. Swerlick, associate professor of dermatology at Emory University School of Medicine, to study a possible cause of telangiectasia, the visible dilated blood vessels that are a common symptom of rosacea. Dr. Swerlick pointed out that the telangiectasias in individuals with a disorder called hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia are caused by decreased expression of the endoglin gene. He will study whether exposure to such environmental factors as sunlight and heat, often reported as rosacea triggers, may likewise block this gene to allow formation of the enlarged blood vessels in rosacea sufferers.
A grant of $21,299 was awarded to Dr. Mark V. Dahl, chairman of dermatology, and Dr. Patrick Schlievert, professor of microbiology, at the University of Minnesota Medical School to study whether the warmer skin of rosacea patients may play a role in causing the bumps and pimples of rosacea. They noted that bacteria normally present on the skin, which produce a variety of toxins or poisons, may behave differently on the flushed and warmer skin of rosacea sufferers. Their aim is to grow bacteria taken from follicles on the skin of a rosacea patient at both high and low temperatures, and determine the amounts and composition of the toxins at each temperature range.
"The Society continues to receive a growing number of research grant applications on a variety of topics, and further amounts will be awarded during the coming year," Dr. Wilkin said. The results of these studies will be published in future issues of Rosacea Review.
Since the National Rosacea Society initiated its new research grants program, nearly 20,000 Rosacea Review readers have contributed more than $260,000 to support research, and a $100,000 corporate donation was made by Galderma Laboratories. Readers can make a tax-deductible contribution by mailing a check to the National Rosacea Society, 800 S. Northwest Highway, Suite 200-R, Barrington, Illinois 60010.