The LEO Foundation Award 2013 – Silver Award
Grantee: Dr. Muzlifah Haniffa
Amount: DKK 500,000
Presented to Muzlifah Haniffa, Wellcome Trust Clinical Intermediate Fellow in Dermatology at the Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University, UK.
Dr. Haniffa’s research focuses on dendritic cells; a type of white blood cells also present in the skin that are important in regulating immune responses against microorganisms, cancer and tolerance to self-proteins. Her research has the potential to lead to enhanced vaccination strategies against cancer, such as melanoma, and infections.
The LEO Foundation Award 2013 – Gold Award
Grantee: Dr. Onur Boyman
Amount: DKK 1,000,000
Presented to Onur Boyman, Professor, Dr. med., Senior Consultant Physician and Head of Laboratory at the Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Zurich.
Professor Boyman’s research focuses on the function of T cell subsets and different cytokines in the pathogenesis of psoriasis and other immune-mediated diseases and the treatment of melanoma. His research shows great promise both as a potential treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases and as a potential cancer therapy.
Identification and Characterization of Key Itch Mediators and Receptors in Human Pruitus
Grantee: Professor Martin Steinhoff, University of California San Francisco, CA, USA
Amount: USD 388,225
Itch is probably the most common symptom in dermatology and it is associated with a significant impact on the patient’s life.
A team led by Professor Martin Steinhoff, University of California San Francisco, has set out to develop novel targeted therapies for chronic itch in humans.
Besides the lesional and non-lesional as compared to healthy skin, the project team will also identify critical itch mediators and/or receptors that are expressed (and activated) in human dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and spinal cord tissue. To address this, mediators will be identified as well as receptors associated with human itch, and thereby the team will be able to define “biomarkers” for the different pruritic human diseases.
The project will be the first-of-a-kind study to analyse the expression and distribution of key itch mediators and receptors in human skin, human DRG and human spinal cord, and will therefore provide a significant basis for future translational research that targets these mediators/receptors in the different subtypes of itch.
Moreover, it is the first time that it will be tested whether several new itch pathways that have been described in murine skin models are relevant, i.e. can be translated, in human disease state.
Care for chronic skin diseases with a patient-centric approach
Grantee: Professor Lieve Brochez, University of Ghent, Belgium
Amount: EUR 330,000
Skin cancer is currently the most frequent type of cancer. At present, life-time risk is estimated at one in six and, with an ageing population, this is expected to increase even more. It is assumed that early detection allows better cure rates and more cost-effective treatment, and skin cancer thus seems suitable for screening initiatives. However, questions remain about the cost–benefit ratio.
This study is led by Professor Lieve Brochez of the University of Ghent, Belgium. It aims to calculate the actual cost of skin cancer in Belgium, the expected cost with an ageing population and how much early detection of skin cancer could affect these costs.
The team will use the results to develop an internationally applicable health-economic model. The model will allow other European countries to use local data, enabling data to be compared across Europe.
Secondly, the study will evaluate a new skin cancer screening approach to compare the yield of this type of screening to the yield of systematic screening in an asymptomatic population within a well-defined population.
Quality of life will be assessed for all screened persons with skin cancer and/or actinic keratosis in order to generate patient-centric data to evaluate the burden of skin cancer.
Skin Cancer Screening Education Study
Grantee: Professor Dr Eckhard W. Breitbart & Dr Rüdiger Greinert from the Association of Dermatological Prevention, Hamburg, and the Centre of Dermatology, Buxtehude, Germany
Amount: EUR 822,880
The Skin Cancer Screening Education Study (SCSES) is an interventional study in Canada to evaluate training of primary-care physicians in skin cancer screening (SCS) with regard to screening outcomes for melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer.
The study, led by Professor Dr Eckhard W. Breitbart and Dr Rüdiger Greinert from the Association of Dermatological Prevention, Hamburg, and the Centre of Dermatology, Buxtehude, both in Germany, will compare screening outcomes for an intervention region with SCS training to screening outcomes for a control region with no training.
The SCS training is based on the German SCS training, which forms part of the German skin cancer screening programme. The results of the SCREEN project, which was led by Dr Breitbart, provide the strongest scientific evidence to date that population-based skin cancer screening can be effective. This new study will evaluate clinical and epidemiological screening outcomes as well as educational outcomes. Data on potential risks associated with skin cancer screening will also be obtained.
Study results will be published in international publications and presented to the scientific community, public health experts and policymakers at European and international conferences, at roundtables of the European Parliament and national parliaments, and in health committees in the study countries, which include Canada.
Defining the skin and blood biomarkers of pediatric atopic dermatitis
Grantee: Dr. Emma Guttman, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Dermatology, Director Laboratory for Inflammatory Skin Diseases, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA
Amount: USD 1,046,400
Despite considerable impact on quality of life, atopic dermatitis, or eczema, has not been studied extensively in children although as many as one in five experience the condition. Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is a chronic skin condition, characterised by itching and inflammation, and frequently occurs in people who have other allergic conditions, such as asthma and hay fever.
Dr. Guttman has set out to define the skin and blood biomarkers of atopic dermatitis in children. She and her team will investigate how skin biomarkers compare to disease activity, epidermal barrier function and known biomarkers in adults with atopic dermatitis. They will also investigate whether blood biomarkers could offer a less invasive way to monitor skin changes than a skin biopsy, which can be difficult to perform in children.
With better knowledge of what causes atopic dermatitis in children, the researchers hope to develop more targeted therapies for the disorder as well as for other atopic conditions, such as asthma and hay fever. Together, these three disorders form an “atopic triad”.
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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2016 Dec 10 pii: S0091-6749(16)31452-X
J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2016 Nov;138(5):1473-1477.e5
J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2017 Jan;139(1):152-165