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

Over the last 50 years, the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) has become the world’s leading nonprofit patient advocacy organization fighting for individuals with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. NPF leads this fight by driving efforts for a cure and improving the lives of the more than 8 million Americans affected by this chronic disease. To date, NPF has funded more than $15 million in research grants and fellowships, and to commemorate 50 years, NPF plans to raise an additional $2 million for early scientific career research programs in 2017 alone. Each year, NPF strives to support, educate and advocate on behalf of more individuals living with or caring for someone with the disease than ever before. As part of that effort, NPF established the Patient Navigation Center to offer personalized assistance to everyone with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Join our community today and help drive discovery and create community for all living with psoriatic disease.