La Roche-Posay announces research award winners

April 22, 2014

La Roche-Posay has announced the recipients of the ninth annual La Roche-Posay North American Foundation 2014 Research Awards, celebrating advances in clinical, biological and pharmacological research advances in the field of dermatology.

Skincare product manufacturer La Roche-Posay has announced the recipients of the ninth annual La Roche-Posay North American Foundation 2014 Research Awards, celebrating advances in clinical, biological and pharmacological research advances in the field of dermatology.

Thomas Strub, M.D., of the department of oncological sciences and dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, received the first-place grant of $10,000 for his study, “Epigenetic Mechanisms Underlying Drug Resistance of Malignant Melanoma.”

“We propose to uncover the epigenetic mechanisms that play a significant role in melanoma cells that have acquired resistance to extracellular-signal regulated kinases (ERK) inhibitors,” Dr. Strub wrote in his study abstract. “By mapping their epigenomic landscape, we will generate global insight into the epigenetic changes in melanoma cells that have acquired drug resistance. Moreover, we anticipate that our screen targeting chromatin-related factors in human melanoma cells undergoing resistance will uncover novel and critical therapeutic epigenetic targets.”

Shadmehr Demehri, M.D., of Washington University in St. Louis, won second place and a $5,000 grant for his study, “The Role of Calcipotriol in Treatment of Pre-Cancerous Skin Lesions.”

“We have recently shown that calcipotriol is very effective in eliminating skin cancer in animal models,” Dr. Demehri tells Dermatology Times. “Therefore, we have initiated this trial to determine calcipotriol’s role in treating precancerous and eventually cancer lesions in humans. We hope to identify a better field treatment for actinic keratosis with higher efficacy and fewer side effects. In addition, we are interested in understanding the detailed molecular mechanism of calcipotriol action against skin cancer in patients.”

Emily Newsom, M.D., of the department of dermatology at Wayne State University in Detroit, won third place and a $5,000 grant for her study, “Mapping Cytogenetic Abnormalities in Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma using FISH.”

“There are limited studies in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), particularly in early or plaque stage CTCL, which is partially due to the difficulty of performing this technique in skin biopsy specimens,” Dr. Newsom tells Dermatology Times. “Our study is looking at the gene CDKN2A in CTCL and comparing early or plaque stage with late or tumor stage CTCL. Hopefully, this will lead to further research to identify a specific gene and chromosome aberration profile of a specimen and could potentially determine the stage of disease, thereby allowing better risk stratification, prognosis and genetic counseling.”

The winners were recognized at the La Roche-Posay North American Foundation Awards dinner during the recent American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting in Denver.