LEO Foundation | Developing deep understanding of atopic dermatitis
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Developing deep understanding of atopic dermatitis

A Danish-American collaboration between Gentofte Hospital in Copenhagen and Mount Sinai in New York seeks unprecedented new opportunities to improve understanding of atopic dermatitis and hand dermatitis.

Ballerup, Denmark (22 September, 2016) – Atopic dermatitis (AD) and hand dermatitis are heterogeneous disease entities and there has yet to be developed a good understanding of their many different clinical aspects. Thus it remains extremely challenging to provide patients with better treatment outcomes and prognosis.

A newly formed team of scientists at Gentofte Hospital in Copenhagen and Mount Sinai in New York has set out to change this.

“Next generation sequencing and advanced bioinformatics technologies give us powerful new opportunities to explore and understand the molecular pathophysiology of atopic dermatitis and hand dermatitis,” says Dr. Joel Dudley, Director of Biomedical informatics at Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai in New York.

“It is a study that has not previously been performed, and we expect to make a breakthrough in the understanding, classification and treatment of these skin diseases. We hope to improve our knowledge and understanding of the molecular basis of atopic dermatitis and hand dermatitis and their relation to clinical features. Consequently, we also hope to pave the way for improved opportunities for managing and preventing disease,” says Dr. Jeanne Duus Johansen from the Department of Dermato-Allergology at Gentofte Hospital.

She and Joel Dudley will lead a trans-Atlantic team of researchers working with high-throughput, genome-wide profiling of multiple of the ‘–omics’ modalities, including genome, transcriptome, epigenome and microbiome.

The goal is to develop a deeper understanding of how the molecular manifestation of the heterogeneous diseases correlates with clinical variables such as onset of disease and treatment outcomes. The technologies employed by the team can provide comprehensive molecular profiles that can enhance the understanding of the system-wide mechanics and properties of complex biological systems.

Dudley’s team will integrate the ‘-omics’ data sets to clarify the complex biological mechanisms underlying disease. They will do so by connecting molecular profiles with clinical data to identify molecular surrogates of drivers of important clinical features of disease.

The study will build on previous efforts to assemble and characterise a Danish cohort of individuals affected by AD in adulthood and/or hand dermatitis. The proposed study will add important new dimensions of molecular information that will enable new insights into molecular mechanisms and features of disease. Furthermore, the team sees that an incorporation of molecular measures, namely microbiome and epigenome, may offer insight into environmental correlates or determinants of disease.

Finally, the team foresees that the data and results generated may serve as an important new asset to the AD and dermatology research communities.

“We believe that the data and results generated by our study will enable new research directions and insights into AD and dermatological disease. Furthermore, we believe that such future insights would be enabled by the unique availability of the proposed comprehensive multi-omics data set integrated with comprehensive clinical data and assessment of a large patient cohort,” explains Dr. Jeanne Duus Johansen.

The LEO Foundation has supported the study with a grant of 11.1 MDKK.

“We are delighted to support this important initiative and look forward to see what new insights into molecular mechanisms and features of atopic dermatitis it will bring,” says Lars Olsen, Chairman of the LEO Foundation.

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Further information:

Joel Dudley, PhD, Director of Biomedical informatics, Department of Genetics and Genomics Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA. E-mail: joel.dudley@mssm.edu

Jeanne Duus Johansen, MD, DMSc, Director National Allergy Research Centre, Department of Dermato-Allergology, Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. E-mail: jeanne.duus.johansen@regionh.dk