Understanding mast cell disorders

Lucie Turcotte and Sheilagh MaguinessInfants and children with a mast cell disorder called cutaneous mastocytosis experience numerous red-brown spots on their skin that can swell and blister, leading to discomfort, severe itching, pain, and self-esteem issues. Abdominal pain, headaches, and bleeding can also occur in some patients.

University pediatrics faculty member Lucie Turcotte, M.D., (at left in photo) and Sheilagh Maguiness, M.D., a dermatology faculty member, are launching a study with Masonic support to evaluate mast cell gene expression and mutations that contribute to cutaneous mastocytosis.

Turcotte and Maguiness are now recruiting U patients to participate in the study. Once their work is complete, they hope to have information that will allow clinicians to make earlier and more accurate prognoses and have clearer targets for treatment. They also hope to expand their research to include other mast cell disorders and, eventually, create a center of excellence at the U for pediatric mast cell disease.

“This study would not be possible without the grant from Minnesota Masonic Charities. We are very grateful to receive the funding at this point in our careers.”

Learn more about what Maguiness is doing to treat other serious skin conditions.

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