Research Report 2018

A man in an operating room

Dr. Vincent Piguet | Scientist, Dermatologist and Head of Dermatology

New solutions for rapid diagnosis in dermatology

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease affecting approximately one per cent of the global population. Currently, there is a decentralization of care for patients with HS resulting in highly variable approaches to diagnosing the signs and symptoms, as well as treatment of the condition. Dr. Vincent Piguet’s research aims to better understand this debilitating disease and close the health gaps within our healthcare system.

HS is under recognized, with the average Canadian patient seeing five doctors, spanning eight years, before being diagnosed. The fragmentation of health services is reflected in the significant diagnostic delay of the condition, and leaves patients with unsatisfactory treatments and care. To address this health gap, Dr. Piguet is developing solutions that will improve care pathways and reduce the condition’s impact on patients’ functional impairment due to pain, discharge and scarring. These impairments are similar in scale to the effects of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and renal failure. Dr. Piguet recently secured funding to establish a multidisciplinary HS clinic at Women’s College Hospital, a first of its kind in Canada, to manage these complex patients. The clinic will serve an unmet need in the healthcare system to improve the health and well-being of patients with HS, where women are also disproportionally affected.

Dr. Piguet also conducts research on viral interactions between skin dendritic cells, key immune cells and viruses such as HIV and HTLV-1. His research studying the interactions between the dendritic cells, as well as mucosal transmission of these pathogens has enhanced understanding of disease mechanisms and potential prevention strategies. These findings also have important implications in establishing vaccination strategies such as intradermal vaccination.