Psoriasis and cardiovascular co-morbidity – funding of an overview committee

Grantee: Professor Christopher Griffiths, Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, University of Manchester

Amount: DKK 900,000

Grant category: Research grants in open competition

Year: 2012

Geography: United Kingdom

The background to this project – establishing and operating a multidisciplinary international scientific committee on psoriasis and cardiovascular disease (CVD) – is the increased risk of cardiovascular disease and related mortality amongst psoriasis patients.

Research investigating the interface between the two conditions – from epidemiological studies to basic experimental research – may prove key to improving the overall care of psoriasis patients.

Chaired by Professor Christopher Griffiths from the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences at the University of Manchester in the UK, the committee consists of three dermatologists and three cardiologists, with at least one of each based in the USA.

The committee’s work focuses on:

  • How scientific understanding can be improved through new research initiatives
  • Building a consensus on biomarkers in research
  • The potential relationships between biomarkers and clinical results and the benefits for patients
  • Areas of particular interest for further research
  • Investigation of cardiovascular side-effects in clinical development projects

Psoriasis and cardiovascular co-morbidity – epidemiological and experimental studies

Grantee: Dr Peter Riis Hansen, Department of Cardiology P, Gentofte Hospital

Amount: DKK 4,200,000

Grant category: Research grants in open competition

Year: 2012

Geography: Denmark

Psoriasis patients have increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which still carries high morbidity and mortality in western societies, and is increasing dramatically in the emerging economies.

Consequently, research directed at the interface between psoriasis and CVD, from the level of epidemiological studies to basic experimental research, is of paramount importance in order to improve overall care for psoriasis patients, as well as supporting the need to seek help to receive treatment.

A research project led by Dr Peter Riis Hansen, Gentofte Hospital, Department of Cardiology P, Denmark, will help to:

  • Inform and motivate dermatologists to play a pivotal role in screening and helping patients with psoriasis to prevent an increased risk of CVD
  • Motivate patients with psoriasis to, firstly, seek treatment and assessment of their CVD risk and, secondly, improve treatment of psoriasis to reduce the overall immune activation
  • Establish a murine model of psoriasis and CVD that is suitable for mechanistic studies and preclinical drug evaluation
  • Identify new markers of psoriasis and/or CVD activity that may be relevant for clinical use.

Publications:

Khalid U et al. Psoriasis and new-onset diabetes: a Danish nationwide cohort study. Diabetes Care 2013;6:2404-7

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3714512/

Khalid U et al. Psoriasis and risk of heart failure: a nation-wide cohort study. Eur J Heart Fail 2014;16:743-8

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24903077

Khalid U et al. Sarcoidosis in patients with psoriasis: a population-based cohort study. PLoS ONE 2014;9(10)e109632

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4186869

Khalid U et al. Increased risk of aortic valve stenosis in patients with psoriasis: A nation-wide cohort study. Eur Heart J 2015;36:2177-83

http://eurheartj.oxfordjournals.org/content/36/32/2177.long

Khalid U et al. A nationwide study of the risk of abdominal aortic aneurysms in patients with psoriasis

http://atvb.ahajournals.org/content/36/5/1043.long

Madsen M et al. Effects of TPA-induced experimental psoriasis-like skin inflammation in atherosclerosis-prone apoE knock-out mice. BMC Dermatology 2015

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4940745

Epidemiology of eczema disease in Denmark

Grantee: Professor Torkil Menné and Professor Jeanne Duus Johansen, Gentofte Hospital

Amount: DKK 2,828,000

Grant category: Research grants in open competition

Year: 2012

Geography: Denmark

The project involves several research groups at Gentofte Hospital in Copenhagen and is headed by Professor Torkil Menné and Professor Jeanne Duus Johansen.

The work aims to shed more light on the incidence of eczema in the general population and pave the way for improved prevention and treatment.

Eczema is the most prevalent of the skin disorders. It is not only one of the most common childhood diseases, but also a typical occupational disease, making it one of the most widespread diseases in the overall population. Eczema also results in substantial costs and loss of quality of life for patients.

Despite the disease prevalence, there is a shortage of data and research on eczema in the general population.

This project, which draws on a number of databases and disease registries unique to Denmark, aims to produce a detailed picture of the clinical and sociodemographic aspects of eczema in both the general population and the patient population.

Its specific aims are:

  • To describe the consequences of eczema in terms of health care, education and employment, and the development of co-morbidities
  • To explore the genetics behind eczema and its
    consequences.

Publications:

Anatomical patterns of dermatitis in adult filaggrin mutation carriers

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015 Mar;72(3):440-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2015.01.001. Epub 2015 Feb 7

Predictive factors of self-reported hand eczema in adult Danes – a population based cohort study with 5 year follow-up

Br J Dermatol. 2016 Aug;175(2):287-95. doi: 10.1111/bjd.14476. Epub 2016 May 24

Health-related quality of life in adult dermatitis patients stratified by filaggrin genotype

Contact Dermatitis. 2017 Mar;76(3): 167-177. doi: 10.1111/cod.12731. Epub 2016 Dec 16 

Hand eczema, atopic dermatitis and filaggrin mutations in adult Danes: a registry-based study assessing risk of disability pension

Contact Dermatitis. 2017 Aug;77(2):95-105. doi: 10.1111/cod.12786. Epub 2017 Apr 20

The LEO Foundation Scholarship for Dermatological Research

Grantee: Scholarship programme

Amount: DKK 2,200,000

Grant category: Research grants in open competition

Year: 2012

Geography: Australia, Denmark

The LEO Foundation Scholarship for Dermatological Research aims to strengthen research collaboration within the field of skin cancer between Australia and Denmark by supporting training of and research by young scientists.

One scholarship is offered annually on behalf of the LEO Foundation, alternating between Australia and Denmark.

A candidate from Australia travels to work within a Danish tertiary institution and a Danish student is selected with a view to joining an Australian campus.

The funds received may be used as part of an ongoing PhD project or for postdoctoral research. The funds must in part support a research/educational stay in Australia of at least six months for the Danish student.

Publications

Automated detection of actinic keratoses in clinical photographs

Hames SC, Sinnya S, Tan JM, Morze C, Sahebian A, Soyer HP, Prow TW.

PLoS One. 2015 Jan 23;10(1):e0112447. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112447. eCollection 2015

Counting actinic keratosis – is photographic assessment a reliable alternative to physical examinations in clinical trials?

Sinnya S, O’Rourke P, Ballard E, Tan JM, Morze C, Sahebian A, Hames SC, Prow TW, Green AC, Soyer HP.

Acta Derm Venerol. 2015 May;95(5):604-5. doi: 10.2340/00015555-2040. No abstract avaliable

The future of keratinocyte skin cancer surveillance: automated image analysis to identify and monitor keratinocyte dysplasia

Hames SC, Prow TW.

Curr Probl Dermatol. 2015;46:77-84. doi: 10.1159/000366540. Epub 2014 Dec 18

Automated segmentation of skin strata in reflectance confocal microscopy depth stacks

Hames SC, Ardigò M, Soyer HP, Bradley AP, Prow TW.

PLoS One. 2016 Apr 18;11(4):e10153208. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153208. eCollection 2016.

Automated detection of actinic keratoses in clinical photographs

Hames SC, Sinnya S, Tan JM, Morze C, Sahebian A, Soyer HP, Prow TW.

PLoS One. 2015 Jan 23;10(1):e0112447. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112447. eCollection 2015.

Counting actinic keratosis – is photographic assessment a reliable alternative to physical examination in clinical trials?

Sinnya S, O’Rourke P, Ballard E, Tan JM, Morze C, Sahebian A, Hames SC, Prow TW, Green AC, Soyer HP.

Acta Derm Venereol. 2015 May;95(5):604-5. doi: 10.2340/00015555-2040. No abstract available.

The future of keratinocyte skin cancer surveillance: automated image analysis to identify and monitor keratinocyte dysplasia

Hames SC, Prow TW.

Curr Probl Dermatol. 2015;46:77-84. doi: 10.1159/000366540. Epub 2014 Dec 18

Anatomical skin segmentation in reflectance confocal microscopy with weak labels*

Hames SC, Ardigò M, Soyer HP, Bradley AP, Prow TW.

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/abs_aa.jsp?arnumber=7371231&tag=1

* This won the Canon Extreme Imaging Competition (DICTA category) prize in late 2015

The LEO Foundation Award 2011 – Silver Award

Grantee: Dr. Charlotte Menné Bonefeld

Amount: DKK 500,000

Grant category: LEO Foundation Awards

Year: 2011

Geography: Denmark

Presented to Dr. Charlotte Menné Bonefeld, a Danish immunologist with a strong interest in dermatological research.

Despite her young age, Dr. Bonefeld has already made a significant contribution to the field of dermatology. Her research achievements include novel promising findings showing down-regulation of the immune system (a process known as tolerance) when an individual is exposed repeatedly to strong allergens such as those present in hair dyes. These results give great perspectives in finding new treatments and, equally important, give novel insight into why some people become allergic and some do not.

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 – Silver Award

Grantee: Dr. Andor Pivarcsi

Amount: DKK 500,000

Grant category: LEO Foundation Awards

Year: 2010

Geography: Sweden

Presented to Dr. Andor Pivarcsi, young dermatology researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden for his investigation of the role of microRNAs (miRNA) in skin disease.

Dr.Pivarsci’s work centres on miRNAs, a class of recently discovered small RNA molecules, shown to play a critical role in controlling genes behaviour. His research is expected to contribute significantly to our understanding of the pathological mechanisms in skin diseases, such as psoriasis and cancer.

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 – Silver Award

Grantee: Dr. Ilkka Helanterä

Amount: DKK 500,000

Grant category: LEO Foundation Awards

Year: 2009

Geography: Finland

Presented to promising young Finnish physician and scientist Ilkka Helanterä who, at age 31, has already contributed significantly to the field of transplantation nephrology, both in the laboratory and the clinic.

Following his dissertation in 2006, Dr. Helanterä continued his research at the Helsinki University Hospital nephrology clinic, where he published several clinically relevant studies focusing on viral infections after transplantation and the pathogenesis of chronic allograft nephropathy. Dr. Helanterä will undoubtedly be a significant contributor in the international nephrology field in the future.