Foundation grant leads to $7 million award from the National Institutes of Health

A $50,000 National Psoriasis Foundation grant awarded to University of Pennsylvania researcher Dr. Nehal Mehta to study the connection between psoriasis and heart disease has led to two National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants totaling $7 million to continue his work.

The Psoriasis Foundation grant helped Mehta, a cardiologist, kick-start his study to determine if inflammation associated with psoriasis could be detected in other areas of the body besides the skin. Using sophisticated imaging technology, Mehta and his colleagues were able to "see" inflammation in blood vessels, joints and the liver as well as the skin in patients with psoriasis. The results supported his hypothesis that psoriasis is a disease that affects the whole body and attracted the NIH's attention.

One of Mehta's NIH grants—a $3.8 million award—allows him to work with fellow Penn researcher Dr. Joel Gelfand, a former National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board member, to study the effect of psoriasis drugs on blood vessel diseases. His second grant will allow him to work at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Md., to further understand the relationship between psoriasis inflammation and vascular disease.

Psoriasis Foundation Discovery Grants are awarded annually to researchers whose projects, like Mehta's, have great potential to advance treatments for psoriatic diseases and, ultimately, lead to a cure. They are intended to lay the groundwork for further long-term funding from the NIH and other funding agencies.

More funding by the Psoriasis Foundation has increased demand for these types of promising studies, but, because of insufficient resources, the Foundation cannot fund all of the deserving projects, many of which won't be funded elsewhere. Help close this gap and bring us closer toward a cure »

April,18, 2012

About the National Psoriasis Foundation

Serving its community through more than 50 years of patient support, advocacy, research funding, and education, the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is the world’s leading nonprofit fighting for individuals with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The NPF mission is to drive efforts to cure psoriatic disease and dramatically improve the lives of more than 8 million Americans affected by this chronic immune-mediated disease. As part of that effort, NPF created its Patient Navigation Center to offer personalized assistance to everyone with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. To date, NPF has funded more than $21 million in research grants and fellowships that help drive discoveries that may lead to more and better treatments and ultimately a cure. Learn more at