NRS Awards New Grants for Rosacea Medical Research

Posted: 09/29/2015

The National Rosacea Society (NRS) announced it has awarded funding for three new studies, in addition to continuing support for two ongoing studies, as part of its research grants program to increase knowledge and understanding of the causes and other key aspects of rosacea that may lead to improvements in its treatment, prevention or potential cure.

“Since the grants program began in 2000, research supported by donations from many thousands of rosacea patients has dramatically increased understanding of rosacea’s pathophysiology and potential causes,” said Dr. Mark Dahl, professor emeritus at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and chairman of the NRS Medical Advisory Board. “In addition, important studies are now beginning to uncover possible links between rosacea and increased risk of other serious disorders.”

Dr. Gideon Smith, assistant physician in the department of dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital and instructor at Harvard University, and colleagues were awarded $25,000 to investigate whether individuals with rosacea may be at higher risk for other disorders involving the vascular system such as heart disease and high cholesterol. The researchers will use a large clinical database to identify cases of rosacea and to examine the prevalence of markers of cardiovascular inflammation.

Dr. Lori Lee Stohl, research associate in the department of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical School, was awarded $25,000 to examine how norepinephrine and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), biochemicals released by sympathetic nerves during stress, may increase the number of mast cells, which have been linked to dysfunction of the innate immune system and the appearance of the signs and symptoms of rosacea. She will also study whether these chemicals induce cathelicidins, a peptide involved in the body’s innate immune system that is also linked to rosacea, to determine whether there is a potentially significant link between the two pathways.

Earlier in 2015, Dr. Daniel Popkin, assistant professor of dermatology at Case Western Reserve University, and colleagues were awarded $25,000 to study the facial microbiomes – the unique community of microorganisms that resides in all individuals – of identical twins in whom only one has rosacea. In previous NRS-funded work, the researchers studied the contribution of genetics versus the environment to rosacea in identical and fraternal twins. They noted that studying rosacea in identical twins makes it easier to discover how specific factors affect its development without being potentially misled by the many genetic elements.

The NRS also continues to fund studies in 2015 by Dr. Anne Chang, assistant professor of dermatology at Stanford University, on identifying rosacea genes using a methodology called a genome-wide association study, and Dr. Anna Di Nardo, associate professor of dermatology at the University of California-San Diego, on mast cells and redness.

Researchers interested in applying for grants may obtain forms and instructions through the research grants section of the NRS website, rosacea.org, or by contacting the National Rosacea Society, 196 James Street, Barrington, Illinois 60010, telephone 1-888-662-5874, email rosaceas@aol.com. The deadline for submitting proposals to receive a research grant in 2016 is June 17, 2016.

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. Mark Dahl, professor emeritus at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and former AAD president, chairman; Dr. Hilary Baldwin, associate professor of dermatology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center; Dr. Lynn Drake, Harvard Medical School and former AAD president; Dr. Richard Gallo, chief, division of dermatology, University of California-San Diego; Dr. Richard Granstein, chairman of dermatology, Cornell University; Dr. Julie Harper, clinical associate professor of dermatology, University of Alabama-Birmingham; Dr. Sewon Kang, chairman of dermatology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Dr. Mark Mannis, chairman of ophthalmology, University of California-Davis; Dr. Frank Powell, associate professor of dermatology, University College of Dublin Charles Institute, and former president of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology; and Dr. Martin Steinhoff, chairman of dermatology and director, University College of Dublin Charles Institute.

The NRS Research Grants Program is funded by donations from individuals. To donate, click here.

Social Media Editor: Emma Terhaar

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