Announcing the 2019 Danby Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foundation Research Grant Winners
This year, the HS Foundation is pleased to announce that it funded three grants for the 2019 funding cycle.
Grant Awardee #1: A Pilot Study to Identify Biomarkers in Hidradenitis Suppurativa Using Brodalumab
Amount of Award: $10,000
Investigator: John Frew, MD is a dermatologist affiliated with the Laboratory of Investigative Dermatology at the Rockefeller University in New York, NY.
Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) is a severe skin disease causing painful swelling and foul-smelling weeping wounds in the armpits, groin, and under the breasts. It is a long-term recurring condition with few effective treatments available. For those treatments that do exist, they are not guaranteed to work in every individual, every time. It is not uncommon for individuals suffering from HS to try multiple different treatments. Our research involves trialing a new treatment (Brodalumab) in a small group of individuals with HS (10 individuals) and collecting blood and skin samples before and after treatment. This will enable us to identify substances in blood or skin (called potential biomarkers) which can be used to track the activity of disease and predict, before treatment, which patients will respond to certain treatments. The results of this small study would then be repeated in a much larger study in the future. This research has the potential to change the way HS is treated and provide new options for individuals living with this disease.
Grant Awardee #2: Study of Photoacoustic Hidradenitis Suppurativa-Specific Radiomic Signatures
Amount of Award: $5,000
Principle Investigator: Mohammadreza Nasiriavanaki, PhD, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Department of Dermatology at Wayne State University, and the Department of Oncology at the Karmanos Cancer Institute, in Detroit, Michigan. Co-investigator: Steven Daveluy, MD, Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine Wayne State University and the Department of Oncology, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Detroit, Michigan.
Layman’s Statement: In the assessment of hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) there are two major problems: 1) clearly identifying the extent of involvement of HS tracts under the skin surface; and, 2) to differentiate HS tracts from blood vessels, specifically when using high frequency ultrasound imaging (HFUSI). We have developed a new technology that has the ability to differentiate HS tracts from blood vessels by detecting the difference between blood and other fluids; and, to create a 3-D map of the full extent of HS tracts, in real-time. The name of this technology is photoacoustic (PA) imaging and the device we built is a multispectral photoacoustic imaging (MPI) probe. The MPI probe is a modified version of an ultrasound probe (see Fig. 1), providing a safe, familiar, and easy to use device for clinicians. The results produced by this device are easy to understand, color images which clearly identify HS structures and blood vessels, in 3-D. In clinical trials, PA has demonstrated promising results in differentiating tissues, tissue types and, especially, blood. To test our device, we will compare the efficacy of ultrasound and photoacoustic technologies in identifying HS sinuses and blood vessels. Then we will use MPI probe to accurately identify the HS borders and create 3-D, real-time image maps of the HS structures.
Grant Awardee #3: Study to Evaluate the Utility and Validity of the Hidradenitis Suppurativa Screening Tool (HST)
Amount of Award: $5,000
Principle Investigator: Mahroo Tajalli, Clinical Research Fellow, Brown Dermatology, Inc., The Clinical and Translational Research Program, Department of Dermatology at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
Layman’s Statement: Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a chronic inflammatory condition which affects body skin folds such as armpits, under or between breasts, groins or buttocks. Characteristic skin lesions include recurrent pimples, boils, areas that leak pus or fluid, which all cause significant scarring, pain and diminished quality of life. Other than skin lesions, HS patients may also suffer from concomitant conditions such as high blood pressure, high serum triglycerides, diabetes, join disorder, obesity, or digestive system diseases such as Crohn’s disease. While early diagnosis and treatment of HS patients can be very helpful in improvement of their skin lesions, prevention of scarring, appropriate management of their concomitant conditions and overall better quality of life, given the location and nature of their skin lesions, the diagnosis and treatment are frequently delayed. Currently, no validated screening tool exists to aid in the early diagnosis of their disease. The HST would be a means for individuals to self-assess and self-report their symptoms. This in turn would accelerate effective treatment, prevention of scarring, and management of their concomitant conditions.