The LEO Foundation Award 2011 – Gold Award

Grantee: Dr. Claus Johansen

Amount: DKK 1,000,000

Grant category: LEO Foundation Awards

Year: 2011

Geography: Denmark

Presented to the Danish dermatological researcher Dr. Claus Johansen.

Over the years, Dr. Johansen’s research has been particularly focused on unravelling the complex network of intra-cellular signals controlling inflammatory skin disorders, particularly in psoriasis. Dr. Johansen’s work has significantly increased the current understanding of the inflammatory process in psoriasis. This knowledge is important for the future development of novel therapeutics which will ultimately provide better care for the psoriasis patients.

Skin cancer awareness bus

Grantee: Danish Pharmacy Association and Professor Hans Christian Wulf, Bispebjerg University Hospital

Amount: DKK 3,042,000

Grant category: Research grants in open competition

Year: 2011

Geography: Denmark

The LEO Foundation funded the visit of a “Skin Cancer Awareness Bus” to 30 Danish cities and 15 campsites during the summer of 2011.

This initiative was part of a national ‘keep an eye on your skin’ awareness campaign run by the Danish Pharmacy Association with Professor Hans Christian Wulf, Bispebjerg University Hospital, Denmark.

The objective of the tour was to improve awareness in the general population of potential health consequences of sun exposure (actinic keratosis (AK) and skin cancer), and to educate on preventive measures linked to skin type as well as to improve current clinical knowledge of skin type and impact of UV radiation.

On the bus, visitors could fill out a questionnaire on previous sun exposure, sunburn, AK, skin cancers, etc., as well as receive an assessment of their skin type and a UV photo depicting sun damage in underlying skin.

Awareness of AK and skin cancer is currently limited to dermatologists and general practitioners, and patients are mostly unaware of impact and symptoms – and therefore also the notion of self-checking and importance of early diagnosis.

The lack of awareness is critical given the continuously growing prevalence of AK, and the growing consensus about perceiving AK as a precursor and an early stage of squamous cell carcinoma.
Questionnaires and skin type data have been linked to each respondent’s PNR (CPR) number, facilitating future research through registry linkage to e.g. the Danish Cancer Registry, National Patient Registry, etc.

The LEO Foundation Award 2010 – Gold Award

Grantee: Dr. Jacob Pontoppidan Thyssen

Amount: DKK 1,000,000

Grant category: LEO Foundation Awards

Year: 2010

Geography: Denmark

Presented to young Danish dermatology researcher and MD Jacob Pontoppidan Thyssen for his important contributions to the field of skin disease and contact allergy science.

Dr. Thyssen’s research provides conclusive evidence that the Danish initiative to regulate nickel exposure, started in 1990, has succeeded in decreasing the prevalence of nickel allergy in Danish women. His findings, published in The New England Journal of Medicine last year, hold global relevance and may contribute to interventions in other nations, including the US.

The LEO Foundation Award 2009 – Gold Award

Grantee: Dr. Christian Vestergaard

Amount: DKK 1,000,000

Grant category: LEO Foundation Awards

Year: 2009

Geography: Denmark

Presented to Danish dermatology researcher and dermatologist Dr. Christian Vestergaard, Department of Dermatology at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark.

Dr. Vestergaard is a young talented scientist with an outstanding record of internationally recognised publications, and innovative ongoing research projects within the frontier fields of skin immunology and skin cancer. The award supports and acknowledges his work, and recognises his important role – linking basic science to the understanding of clinical questions.