NIH awards grant for cicatricial alopecia study

December 1, 2009

Cleveland - The National Institutes of Health has awarded Pratima Karnik, Ph.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University, a grant of $1.77 million to fund a five-year study titled “PPAR-gamma Signaling in Normal Pilosebaceous Units and in Scarring Alopecia,” reports the Cicatricial Alopecia Research Foundation (CARF).

Cleveland

- The National Institutes of Health has awarded Pratima Karnik, Ph.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University, a grant of $1.77 million to fund a five-year study titled “PPAR-gamma Signaling in Normal Pilosebaceous Units and in Scarring Alopecia,” reports the Cicatricial Alopecia Research Foundation (CARF).

The study will continue research on linking a defect in lipid processing and peroxisome biogenesis to cicatricial alopecia.

The CARF statement quotes Dr. Karnik as saying, “In preliminary studies that formed the basis of the NIH award, we provided insight into highly complex interactions between hair follicle cells and environmental factors that may cause cicatricial alopecia. This funding provides us the support necessary to aggressively test novel ideas aimed at understanding progression of these diseases and the development of novel therapeutic strategies.”

In December 2008, Dr. Karnik and her research team published findings that unprocessed lipids set the stage for developing scarring hair loss. The work suggests that either processed lipids are necessary for hair growth or unprocessed lipids are toxic. These clinical studies corroborate similar studies performed in mutant mice.

In their preliminary studies, the researchers found that treating patients with drugs that enhance lipid processing relieved the clinical symptoms and signs of the disorder.

CARF is a supporter of this research.