The 11th Heinz Maurer Award for dermatological research has been awarded

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the brand, sebamed presented awards to four outstanding scientific studies in skin research

The Heinz Maurer Award is a much respected institution:
It has been promoting dermatological research for 21 years. The initiator of the research award is the doctor and entrepreneur Dr. med. Heinz Maurer, the founder of Sebapharma GmbH & Co. KG with its headquarters in Boppard-Bad Salzig in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. He made Sebapharma, the company he founded in 1967 and managed, into a global player.


The inventor of "Seife ohne Seife" (soapless soap) retired from the business in 2010 and handed over operational management to Thomas Maurer and Dr. Rüdiger Mittendorff, both chairmen of the management board.


To honour Dr. med. Heinz Maurer who died in 2016, and on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the sebamed brand, the research award was expanded to include a third category for "Skin Surface Research in Ethnic Populations".

The award ceremony was held as part of the International Summer Academy of Practical Dermatology (ISA) on 27/07/2017 in Munich, Germany. Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Ruzicka, deputy chairman of the jury, presented the award for ethnic research. Prof. Dr. med. Wolfgang Gehring, chairman of the jury and honorary member of the scientific advisory board of Sebapharma GmbH & Co. KG, presented the following awards:


Basic Research

Sebapharma selected "The barrier function of organotypic non-melanoma skin cancer models" by Dr. Christian Zoschke (Free University of Berlin) et al. from among five studies submitted and granted their research the € 10,000 Heinz Maurer Award for Research in Dermatology.

Using organ-like skin tumour models, Zoschke discovered the molecular causes for an impaired skin barrier function in squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, the most aggressive form of non-melanoma skin cancer. The composition and the arrangement of the stratum corneum lipids in skin tumour models differ greatly in comparison to normal skin models. Furthermore, the expression of cell-cell connecting proteins, the surface pH level and the esterase activity in the skin tumour models also changed.

His results confirm the few clinical studies on the skin barrier function for non-melanoma skin cancer and serve as a basis for developing new drug delivery systems for the targeted transport of active agents. The use of human cells also supports the implementation of the 3R principle ? Replacement, Reduction and Refinement ? from animal experiments.


Clinical Research

The two outstanding clinical studies "Morphologic features of basal cell carcinoma using the en-face mode in frequency domain optical coherence tomography” by PD Dr. Tanja von Braunmühl et al. and "Objective and subjective treatment evaluation of scars using optical coherence tomography, sonography, photography, and standardised questionnaires" by Dr. Markus Reinholz et al., both at the Clinic and Polyclinic for Dermatology and Allergology of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, were of equal scientific value in the opinion of the jury, and the prize of € 10,000 was therefore shared.

Braunmühl came to the conclusion that Frequency Domain Optical Coherence Tomography (FDOCT), with new visualisation for horizontal and vertical imaging modes, provides additional information in the diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma (BCC), in particular for nodular BCC, and improves the options for assessing the morphological features of the tumour compared with the methods currently being used.

In his work, Reinholz investigated the suitability of various methods including imaging procedures for assessing the course of treatment for pathological scars. He came to the conclusion that the combined use of optical coherence tomography (HDOCT), sonography, photography and standardised questionnaires lead to an optimal result here. HDOCT can be used as an objective diagnostic tool for assessment and is a valuable supplementary examination tool in combination with ultrasound and subjective assessment criteria.


Special award

The study "Evaluation of the efficacy of cysteamine 5% cream in the treatment of epidermal melasma: a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial" by Prof. Parvin Mansouri et al. of the Department of Dermatology at the Tehran University of Medical Science received a special award.

Due to the clinical relevance of the indication in ethnic populations, the quality of the methodology and the publication in a leading specialist journal, the jury unanimously decided to give it an award of € 5,500.

Mansouri investigated the efficacy of cysteamine 5% cream in the treatment of patients with epidermal melasma. The extensive brown skin discolouration due to the over-production of melanin is particularly widespread in women with skin types IV and V under exposure to UV radiation.
Differences between hyper-pigmented and normal skin, measured both with a Mexameter, and using the Melasma Area Severity Index (MASI), the Investigator‘s Global Assessment (IGA) score and the subjective assessment of users showed significant efficacy of cysteamine cream in comparison to placebo after just two months.


In his speech, Dr. Rüdiger Mittendorff thanked the jury of renowned dermatologists and pharmacists and stressed the value of science and research as the basis of Sebapharma's international success.

Following the award ceremony, Sebapharma invited people to attend the ISA Master Class "Dermatological aspects of different skin care needs round the globe" with renowned speakers from Europe, South America, India and South Africa.


Science for healthy skin

The Heinz Maurer Award supports outstanding achievements in dermatological research in order to contribute towards continuous progress in dermatological research.

In this way, the manufacturer of skin cleaning and skin care products that are harmonised with the natural skin barrier with a pH of 5.5 underscores the company's philosophy of "Science for healthy skin".