Dermatology Research

The Department of Dermatology has an active clinical trials unit that has made significant contributions to the FDA approval of many of the commonly prescribed treatments for dermatologic disorders such as psoriasis.  The Sinai team has also successfully shown the benefit of using some of these already approved treatments to successfully treat other dermatologic diseases, including eczema, alopecia areata, vitiligo, and skin cancers.

Here are some of areas of study for our Department. 

  • Psoriasis:Psoriasis affects 2-3 percent of the American population. Our clinical trials in psoriasis have demonstrated the effectiveness of specific biologic treatments and established the clinical reversibility of psoriasis. We have a state-of-the-art infusion center where patients receive treatments with recently developed biologic therapies. Dr. Lebwohl has been one of the leading investigators in psoriasis and helped the development of therapeutic agents for psoriasis. A translational revolution in inflammatory skin diseases started with a better understanding of the basic biology of the disease, resulting in treatments that are specific and lack side effects of previous therapies, such as broad immune suppressants. Our Department contributed to this revolution, which we are now extending to other inflammatory skin diseases. 
  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema): Most recently, our department has been at the forefront of discoveries and therapeutic developments for a prevalent skin disease called eczema, or atopic dermatitis. This disease affects three to seven percent of the American population and severely impacts the quality of life of patients. There are currently limited treatment options for moderate and severe disease. 

We have established The Center of Excellence in Eczema at The Mount Sinai Hospital directed by Emma Guttman, MD. This center incorporates her laboratory, which has made great advances in understanding the disease. Our discoveries have outlined the molecular maps of both chronic and acute eczema, as well as the systemic nature of the disease. This, in addition to our other work, may lead to a personalized treatment approach for this disease, and has promoted the therapeutic development of new biologic therapies.

Our center, together with our active Clinical Trials Division, provides clinical trials with systemic and topical treatments for this disease, serving our patients with the best available clinical care and therapeutic options. 

  • Alopecia areata: Alopecia areata involves patchy or complete loss of hair due to “an attack” of the hair follicles by immune cells. This disease affects one to two percent of the American population and has a severe emotional and social effect on patients. We have recently extended our studies in eczema to alopecia areata. We have outlined the most comprehensive immune maps of alopecia areata as well as identified some biologic treatments originally developed for psoriasis that may also be effective in alopecia areata, completely reversing total body hair loss. Our Clinical Trials division is now offering patients several clinical trials that are available only in our center. This demonstrates how our strength in clinical trials and laboratory discoveries provides improved patient care and may ultimately lead to developments of new treatments for patients with alopecia areata. 
  • Vitiligo: We are beginning clinical trials and laboratory investigations in vitiligo, a prevalent inflammatory disease and a condition with an unmet need for better treatments. At present, phototherapy is the choice of treatment with limited efficacy, creating an urgent need for systemic and topical treatments. We are in the process of initiating clinical trials for patients with vitiligo, incorporating the vast insight we gained from our psoriasis, eczema, and alopecia areata research. 
  • Pseudoxanthoma elasticum: Mount Sinai is the only center to receive federal awards to support research in finding a treatment for PXE. Our Clinical Trials Division is in the process of reviewing data from its most recent study in hopes of developing a possible treatment that may slow or stop the progression of this disease. 
  • Scleroderma: Members of our staff have contributed greatly to the pathogenesis and treatment of scleroderma.

Over the last 30 years, our Department has been involved with the testing of almost every new major dermatologic product that has come to market. These studies have allowed us to develop multiple new treatments for specific diseases, such as psoriasis and actinic keratosis, which are not only safer, but more effective. We have conducted studies for 35 major pharmaceutical companies on a wide variety of topics, including, but not limited to, psoriasis, eczema/atopic dermatitis, vitiligo, alopecia areata, acne, photodamage/wrinkles, herpes, pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), onychomycosis, rosacea, and seborrheic dermatitis. We currently run our clinical trials at our campuses at The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai Morningside.

Patients seeking more information about ongoing clinical trials they may qualify for should contact Giselle Singer or the research staff at (212) 241-3288.