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Dermatology Research

Clinical research in the division includes that relating to atopic dermatitis and its association with inattention and sleep disturbance; stigma, anxiety and social functioning in the setting of pediatric skin disease; newer patient-reported outcomes tools for itch and stigma; and infantile hemangioma research.

Search our listing of current clinical trials and review our recent publications for more information.

Anthony J. Mancini, MD, and Sarah L. Chamlin, MD, are members of the international collaborative research consortium, the Hemangioma Investigator Group (HIG), studying infantile hemangiomas (IH). This common infantile tumor occurs in around 4 percent of children and can be associated with significant morbidity. As part of the HIG, they participate in a wide array of clinical research studies on IH, including mapping of localized and segmental hemangiomas, whole genome sequencing in PHACE syndrome, pulsed dye laser efficacy, safety and pharmacokinetics of topical timolol, propranolol for infantile hemangioma treatment and PHACE syndrome clinical and predictive characteristics.

Many of the faculty in the Division of Pediatric Dermatology participate in collaborative clinical research in other topic areas, through the Pediatric Dermatology Research Alliance of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology.

To measure the effects of atopic dermatitis on the quality of life of young children (under the age of 6 years) and their families, Sarah L. Chamlin, MD, and colleagues developed a survey known as the Childhood Atopic Dermatitis Impact Scale (CADIS). The CADIS was developed based on input from parents and expert clinicians. The survey tool examines children's symptoms, activities and behavior as well as parent's issues such as family/social functions, sleep and emotions.

The Division of Dermatology's research laboratory, run by Amy S. Paller, MD, is pursuing NIH-funded research to explore the role of gangliosides in the function of skin cells (keratinocytes). Gangliosides are components of the cell membrane that are made of carbohydrates and lipids. Paller's laboratory continues to perform pioneering bench research that has shown that the gangliosides interact with several important cell receptors, including the epidermal growth factor receptor and integrin alpha5beta1, to affect how skin cells grow, attach and move. Her laboratory has introduced genes that alter the content of membrane gangliosides and cells in culture to make these discoveries. These findings are likely to have an impact on patients with psoriasis, poor wound healing and skin cancers.

The clinical pharmaceutical research unit in pediatric dermatology is the largest in the United States, studying novel medications for disorders such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, acne vulgaris, molluscum contagiosum and epidermolysis bullosa. The division has three full-time fellows yearly to help run these studies, under the leadership of Paller. The program is overseen by Dennis West, PhD, and Stephanie Rangel, PhD.

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