Our Approach

CURTIS stands for the Clinical Unit for Research Trials and Outcomes in Skin. We are a research unit in the Dermatology Department of Massachusetts General Hospital that conducts a wide range of patient studies evaluating new therapies for a broad spectrum of skin diseases as well as investigating quality of life issues. Our unit also offers cutting-edge therapy to patients looking for alternative or new approaches to care.

About CURTIS and Our Staff

Also known as Harvard Skin Studies, CURTIS performs investigator-initiated studies as well as industry-sponsored clinical studies from Phase 1 though Phase 4.  Our physicians, faculty, residents and fellows have broad expertise and experience on a wide range of dermatologic conditions.

Our faculty serve as principal investigators, and our dermatology residents and postdoctoral fellow can participate with faculty to design and perform clinical research as part of their training. 

Maria B. Alora-Palli, MD, the Associate Director of  CURTIS, manages clinical trials evaluating new therapies and devices for a broad spectrum of skin diseases including psoriasis, warts, skin aging, and acne.

What to Expect

The first step in the process is to contact us at harvardskinstudies@partners.org. Our scheduler can outline the trial criteria, risks, and benefits for you.  If you feel you meet the initial criteria and want to participate in the study:

  • You will receive an appointment for your first office visit.
  • During that visit, you may have a physical examination, blood work and other tests performed.
  • If your tests show that you qualify for the study, you will be given study medication.
  • You are expected to take medications as prescribed; follow instructions; and keep all appointments.
  • You may be compensated for your time.
  • All appointments are at 50 Staniford Street,  Suite 240 Boston, MA.

About This Program

As part of the Harvard Medical School and the Partners Healthcare System, our dermatology research unit has been conducting clinical studies for more than 20 years.

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition characterized by inflamed, red, raised areas that often develop as silvery scales on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back. These areas may itch or feel sore. Some patients have joint inflammation, a condition commonly known as psoriatic arthritis.

Acne:  Plugged pores (blackheads and whiteheads), pimples, and even deeper lumps (cysts or nodules) that occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and the upper arms. Acne affects most teenagers to some extent. However, the disease is not restricted to any age group; adults in their 20s - even into their 40s - can get acne. While not a life threatening condition, acne can be upsetting and disfiguring. When severe, acne can lead to serious and permanent scarring. Even less severe cases can lead to scarring. To avoid acne scarring, treating acne early is important.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS), considered a severe form of acne, is a chronic, painful skin disease that may appear as boil like lesions, abscesses, & scars on the armpits and groin. 

Skin Cancer is a malignant tumor that grows in the skin cells and accounts for more than 50 percent of all cancers. The most common forms of skin cancer are basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma.

Currently, we are actively conducting several dermatology studies, including therapies for psoriasis and a  research study on skin aging in women, particularly those women of Chinese ancestry ages 58-80.

To Contact Us

Please email us at harvardskinstudies@partners.org

Call us at 617-726-5066

50 Staniford Street
Second Floor, Suite 240
Boston, MA  02114

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