Mount Sinai Health System Launches Alopecia Areata Center of Excellence


The creation of the new Alopecia Areata Center of Excellence was made possible by a generous $5 million gift from the Pure Family.

In an effort to deliver outstanding comprehensive care and to employ revolutionary approaches to novel therapeutics around the skin condition alopecia areata, the Mount Sinai Health System has launched the Alopecia Areata Center of Excellence. Under the leadership of Director Emma Guttman-Yassky, MD, PhD, the new Center will be fully integrated within the state-of-the art Laboratory for Inflammatory Skin Diseases, and will fall under the umbrella of the Kimberly and Eric J. Waldman Department of Dermatology at Mount Sinai.

The creation of this new Alopecia Areata Center of Excellence was made possible by a generous $5 million gift from the Pure Family. More than 7 million people in the United States have alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that causes hair to fall out from the scalp, face, and other parts of the body. There is no cure or effective treatment for this condition, which can affect people of any age, sex, race, or ethnicity. Mount Sinai is a world leader in treatment and research of inflammatory skin diseases, including alopecia areata. Thanks to the Pure Family, this newly established Center—the first of its kind—will allow Mount Sinai to deepen and capitalize on its expertise in translational research to provide comprehensive treatment and coordinated services for patients with alopecia areata.

"I am honored by the Pure Family’s tremendous support for this new Center, which will help immensely to position Mount Sinai Dermatology as a true leader in alopecia areata,” says Dr. Guttman-Yassky, who is the Waldman Professor and Chair of the Kimberly and Eric J. Waldman Department of Dermatology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “We are now uniquely positioned to make an extraordinary difference in the lives of millions of adults and children who have this terrible, life-altering condition.”

Approximately two in 100 people will be diagnosed with alopecia areata within their lifetime. In addition to the physical toll this condition takes, it can also cause patients and their families emotional and psychological distress. “It can be particularly devastating for children, who can grow up feeling misunderstood, alone, and isolated in school and from friends,” explains Dr. Guttman-Yassky.

The FDA has not approved any drugs for alopecia areata in either adults or children. Additionally, there is no single option that works for everyone—leading to a desperate need for development of a wide range of novel therapies. Under this new Center, Dr. Guttman-Yassky is determined to expand and pursue further research in alopecia areata in order to identify new drug targets and repurpose existing treatments used for other inflammatory skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis (eczema).  She will accelerate discoveries for alopecia areata in the same way as she has for atopic dermatitis.

“Dr. Guttman-Yassky is a trailblazer in dermatology,” says Jonathan Pure. “Anyone suffering from alopecia areata will now be able to go to this ground-breaking Center to receive the best possible treatments and care.” 

In addition to Dr. Guttman-Yassky, the Center's leadership team will consist of top experts including dermatologists, dermato-pathologists, fellows, nurses, and other clinicians specializing in the fields of dermatology and dermato-pathology. The Center will offer patients specialized care in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of alopecia areata and other forms of hair loss. 

“Dr. Guttman’s ability to contribute to the better understanding of diseases and to identify new molecular targets together with this new Center of Excellence will help us chart a new course that will lead to more effective treatments for adults and children suffering from alopecia areata and other hair loss disorders,” adds Dennis S. Charney, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of Icahn Mount Sinai and President for Academic Affairs of the Mount Sinai Health System. “We are extremely grateful to the Pure Family for their support, and we are excited to see how this new Center will further position the Department of Dermatology as a world leader in research around inflammatory skin diseases.”

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