Clinical trials at CURTIS, also known as Harvard Skin Studies, conducts patient studies for a broad spectrum of skin conditions.

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.  Our clinical research fellowship is one of the most comprehensive in the country.

Alexa Boer Kimball, MD, MPH is Vice Chair of the Department of Dermatology, Vice President of the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, and Director of the Clinical Unit for Research Trials and Outcomes in Skin.  Her research linking psoriasis to a number of medical conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, depression, and cancer has been increasing our understanding of how immune diseases may be related.  Her recent research also focuses on hidradenitis suppurativa (chronic disease of the sweat glands) and she is experienced in doing studies on acne, skin aging, skin cancer (including melanoma and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma), warts, and onychomyosis (fungal nail infections).

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 particpate 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, Dr. Kimball is actively conducting several dermatology studies, including therapies for  cold sores, rosacea,  and  a  research study on skin aging in women, particulary those women of Chinese or Hispanic descent in specific age groups.

To Contact Us

Please email us at harvardskinstudies@partners.org

Call us at 617-726-5066

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