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Dermatologist awarded grant from National Cancer Institute

Chrysalyne Schmults, MD, MSCE, director of the Mohs and Dermatologic Surgery Center at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, recently received an R03 grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for her research project, “Early Investigation of the Role of desmoplastic Fibrosis in Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma,” which will seek to discover why certain people with squamous cell skin cancer (SCSC) do not respond to treatment. R03 grants support small research projects that can be carried out in a short period of time with limited resources.

Dr. Schmults’ project will explore why abnormal fibrosis around squamous cell skin cancers is associated with metastasis and death. One goal of this work is to illuminate why treatment is ineffective for 50 percent of patients with SCSC that can’t be surgically removed.

“It’s really wonderful to have this seed funding to begin our exploration of the abnormal proteins surrounding aggressive CSCC. They’ve been associated with a poor prognosis for many years, but no one knows why they are there and how they work to make tumors more aggressive,” says Dr. Schmults.

More broadly, Dr. Schmults’ research focuses on high-risk cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, clinical trials of staging and therapy for non-melanoma skin cancer and costs associated with skin cancer surveillance and management.

The NCI leads, conducts and supports cancer research across the nation to advance scientific knowledge and help all people live longer, healthier lives.

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