Development and validation of scoring systems for outcome measures of vitiligo: an international cooperative initiative

Grantee: Professor, Dr Nanja van Geel, Department of Dermatology, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent

Amount: DKK 735,000

Grant category: Research grants in open competition

Year: 2016

Geography: Belgium

Clinical trials for vitiligo – a skin disease that causes loss of skin color in blotches – lack uniformity in reported outcomes and the measurements hereof. This lack of uniformity hampers development of general treatment guidelines, as it limits appropriate interpretation and comparison of results. In particular, since vitiligo is without biomarkers, clinical measurement tools are crucial to assess disease extent.

A recently introduced scoring instrument, Vitiligo Extent Score (VES), will play a central role in this international project. The project team comprises researchers from Belgium, Netherlands, France, Italy, and the UK, and their aim is to create a worldwide consensus on measuring disease severity.

The VES was designed to be intuitive, fast and accurate, and the team has successfully performed an initial validation for estimating global disease extent. The aim of this project is to further develop and validate reliable and feasible instruments to assess vitiligo status in order to improve evidence-based therapeutic decisions and develop novel treatments.

Hereafter, the tool will be used for the development of other scoring methods including a patient-reported outcome measure, a physician global assessment, a vitiligo disease activity score, and a digital image analysis system for target lesions.

Care for chronic skin diseases with a patient-centric approach

Grantee: Professor Lieve Brochez, University of Ghent

Amount: EUR 330,000

Grant category: Research grants in open competition

Year: 2013

Geography: Belgium

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.