Rosacea Review - Newsletter of the National Rosacea SocietyRosacea Review - Newsletter of the National Rosacea Society

Research Grants Awarded to Study Common but Little-Known Disorder

The National Rosacea Society announced that new studies of rosacea have been selected for funding as part of its research grants program to support the advancement of scientific knowledge of this poorly understood and often life-disruptive facial disorder.

"The grants program has been gathering momentum in encouraging greater research on the potential causes and other key aspects of this widespread condition," said Dr. Jonathan Wilkin, chairman of the Society's medical advisory board, which reviews and selects the grant applications for funding. "We hope the growing results from expanded research will form a basis for significant improvements in the management of rosacea, and may open the way for its potential prevention or cure."

Dr. Richard Gallo, associate professor of medicine/dermatology and pediatrics, University of California, San Diego, and Dr. Takaaki Otake, postdoctoral fellow, Dermatology Research, Veterans Administration Medical Center of San Diego, were awarded $25,000 to study whether a type of protein called a cathelicidin may play a role in rosacea. Cathelicidins are made by the skin in response to injury or infection, the researchers noted. While these proteins have been found to act as natural antibiotics, they may also cause inflammation and an increase in the growth of blood vessels -- hallmarks of rosacea.

Dr. Diane Thiboutot, associate professor of medicine, and Hilma Benjamin and Dr. Klaus Helm, Division of Dermatology, Penn State University College of Medicine, were awarded $22,430 to investigate whether the physical characteristics of skin in rosacea patients differ from those of both normal subjects and those with other active inflammatory skin disease in terms of sun damage, skin sensitivity, oiliness, and expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which may promote the formation of telangiectasia (visible blood vessels).

Dr. Sandra Jones-Wu, assistant professor, Division of Dermatology; Dr. Nicholas Flavahan, professor of medicine; and Dr. Niconor Moldovan, assistant professor of medicine, Ohio State University, were selected to receive a $25,000 grant to study whether structural or functional abnormalities in blood vessels result in the redness, swelling, flushing and inflammation of rosacea. One object of study is whether blood vessels of rosacea patients are more reactive to environmental influences. Another is whether capillary enlargement in rosacea patients is due to the fusion of several existing capillaries rather than the formation of new ones.

The Society awarded $2,200 to Karol Lindow, MSN, RN, C, CNS, associate professor of nursing, and Deb Shelestak, MSN, RN, and Mary Dalpiaz, MSN, RN, CNS, assistant professors of nursing, Kent State University, for their study titled "Perceptions of self in persons with rosacea." They will administer a questionnaire to rosacea patients before and after treatment, and to a control group without rosacea, to determine the effects on self-perceptions in various situations and roles.

Further research may also be funded in the coming months on the role of VEGF in rosacea, pending the completion of an ongoing study funded by the National Rosacea Society at Boston University.