Infection and inflammatory mechanisms

The BSF has been influential in supportive outstanding research into inflammatory mechanisms in skin disease, most notably the seminal work into the role of filaggrin in ichthyosis and atopic eczema. The scope of the BSF’s research programme has extended to other major inflammatory skin diseases. In psoriasis, sponsored research has investigated factors controlling the induction of therapy-induced remission and the mechanisms of drug action. In the bullous disorders, skin viral infections and cutaneous drug allergy, the BSF’s investigators have examined the role of cell-mediated immunity in the induction of these diseases.

Population genetics and epidemiology

The BSF recognises that studies on populations can contribute much to our knowledge of disease causation and morbidity. The BSF’s researchers have been active in this area in a variety of ways. They have investigated the genetic markers for inherited hyperkeratotic skin diseases, studied filaggrin gene mutations in atopic dermatitis, and defined important aspects indicating genetic susceptibility to psoriasis. The role of gut bacteria in the inflammatory skin diseases, notably atopic dermatitis, is a topic of particular current significance.

Cancer treatments and mechanism

The increasing prevalence of skin cancer and the concern of patients for effective treatments are recognised by the BSF through its funding of a full programme of research, spanning both mechanistic and therapeutic themes. BSF-sponsored investigators have highlighted new information on the role of human papilloma viruses in non-melanotic skin cancers and the molecular mechanisms that are involved in the induction of skin tumours. In malignant melanoma, researchers have looked at the role for vitamin D and other factors that are involved in cancer progression, and have been instrumental in the design of new therapeutic approaches to the disease.

From the dermatology community

“The British Skin Foundation has played a vital role in funding essential preliminary work that has then progressed to become major national projects. The STOPGAP and PATCH pilot studies are examples of work funded by the BSF which became national studies led by the UK Dermatology Clinical Trials Network, funded by the NIHR.”

Professor Hywel Williams, NIHR Senior Investigator and Chair of the UK Dermatology Clinical Trials Network

“The British Skin Foundation serves an invaluable role in funding proof of concept studies to enable application for substantial research council grants and in supporting early career researchers.”

Professor Chris Griffiths, University of Manchester

“The BSF has contributed to both the training of next generation non clinical and clinical academics, and breakthroughs in our development of novel and urgently required biomarkers for melanoma as well as novel treatment regimes.”

Penny Lovat, Professor of Cellular Dermatology & Oncology, Newcastle University