• Press Release

Emma Guttman, MD, PhD, Receives $846,400 Grant from the LEO Foundation

Grant Will Define Skin and Blood Biomarkers of Pediatric Atopic Dermatitis

  • (May 13, 2014)

Despite considerable impact on quality of life, atopic dermatitis, or eczema, has not been studied extensively in children, although as many as one-in-five have eczema.  We are proud to announce that one of the top researchers worldwide in the study of eczema, Emma Guttman, MD, PhD, Associate Professor and Director of the Laboratory for Inflammatory Skin Diseases, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, will investigate blood biomarkers important in promoting and maintaining eczema in children.

The LEO Foundation has awarded Dr. Guttman an $846,400 grant for research into to examine the skin and blood biomarkers of atopic dermatitis in children.

Dr. Guttman will investigate how well skin biomarkers compare with disease activity, epidermal barrier function, and known biomarkers in the adults with atopic dermatitis. They will also investigate whether blood biomarkers could offer a less invasive way to monitor skin changes than a skin biopsy, which can be difficult to perform in children.

With better knowledge of what causes atopic dermatitis in children, the researchers hope to develop more targeted therapies for the disorder, as well as for other atopic diseases, such as asthma and hay fever. Together, these three disorders form an “atopic triad.”

“Winning this grant will allow us to understand how atopic dermatitis is initiated and sustained in children,” said Dr. Guttman, whose research in atopic dermatitis has been pivotal in the field. “Even though 85 percent of individuals with atopic dermatitis develop it in the first five years of life, causes of it in children have received virtually no attention,” added Dr. Guttman.

Atopic dermatitis or eczema is a chronic disease of the skin, characterized by itching and inflammation that frequently occur in people who have other allergic conditions, such as asthma and hay fever.

Paul Rasmussen, MD, Chairman of the LEO Foundation, pointed out: “Atopic dermatitis is one of the most common inflammatory disorders in children. It is the hope of the LEO Foundation that Dr. Guttman’s research will help remedy the situation.”

Twenty children with atopic dermatitis will be recruited into the study and compared with 20 children without atopic dermatitis.

“Dr. Guttman is the ideal investigator to pursue this research,” said Mark Lebwohl, MD, Sol and Clara Kest Professor and Chair, Department of Dermatology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “She has identified many of the key cytokines involved in the development of atopic dermatitis.” He added: “Prior to her work, the only systemic treatments available were potent immunosuppressive drugs associated with many side effects. Dr. Guttman’s work is critically important in opening the door to targeted therapies that block only small parts of the immune system.”

Dr. Guttman is collaborating on the grant with Amy S. Paller, MD, Chair of Dermatology, and Professor of Dermatology and Pediatrics Dermatology, at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.


About the Department of Dermatology
The Department of Dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai provides outstanding care using the latest advances in dermatology care. Adult and pediatric patients are seen in the Dermatology Clinic, the Inpatient Consult Service, and Faculty Practice. The Department has several divisions, including General Dermatology, Clinical Trials Department, Dermatopathology, Dermatologic Surgery, and the Dermatology Research Laboratories. The Department has been involved in many leading clinical trials that have paved the way to the latest standards of care in dermatology diseases.

About the LEO Foundation
The LEO Foundation was created in 1984 to secure Denmark-based LEO Pharma a long-term basis for the company's continued development as an independent, international and research-based pharmaceutical company. The LEO Foundation also supports selected research and knowledge dissemination projects that address basic issues in skin diseases: from international studies over scientific symposia to science-based knowledge dissemination and awareness campaigns. Emphasis is on major international dermatologic projects, in particular such that seek to address clinical and other particulars around people and patients that risk developing one or more skin diseases.
For more information, visit http://www.leo-foundation.org

About the Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest academic medical system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai advances medicine and health through unrivaled education and translational research and discovery to deliver care that is the safest, highest-quality, most accessible and equitable, and the best value of any health system in the nation. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 415 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of the top 20 U.S. hospitals and is top in the nation by specialty: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital is ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” among the country’s best in four out of 10 pediatric specialties. The Icahn School of Medicine is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools," aligned with a U.S. News & World Report "Honor Roll" Hospital, and No. 14 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding. Newsweek’s “The World’s Best Smart Hospitals” ranks The Mount Sinai Hospital as No. 1 in New York and in the top five globally, and Mount Sinai Morningside in the top 20 globally.

For more information, visit https://www.mountsinai.org or find Mount Sinai on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.