The Plastic Surgery Foundation
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Grants We Funded

Grant applicants for the 2023 cycle requested a total of nearly $4 million dollars. The PSF Study Section Subcommittees of Basic & Translational Research and Clinical Research evaluated nearly 140 grant applications on the following topics:

The PSF awarded research grants totaling over $1 million dollars to support nearly 30 plastic surgery research proposals.

ASPS/PSF leadership is committed to continuing to provide high levels of investigator-initiated research support to ensure that plastic surgeons have the needed research resources to be pioneers and innovators in advancing the practice of medicine.

Research Abstracts

Search The PSF database to have easy access to full-text grant abstracts from past PSF-funded research projects 2003 to present. All abstracts are the work of the Principal Investigators and were retrieved from their PSF grant applications. Several different filters may be applied to locate abstracts specific to a particular focus area or PSF funding mechanism.

Local/Systemic Depletion of Tcells in the Treatment of Lymphedema

Principal Investigator
Jason Gardenier MD


Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Funding Mechanism
ASRM/PSF Research Grant

Focus Area
Hand or Upper Extremity

Lymphedema is a common and morbid disorder that affects over 5 million Americans. While many patients with lymphedema are referred for surgical intervention, the results of these options are suboptimal in many patients, and other patients are not surgical candidates. Therefore, there is an unmet clinical need to develop novel therapies that to improve surgical treatments or aid patients who are not cannot surgical candidates. Our lab has previously shown that CD4+ cells play an important role in the pathology of lymphedema and that systemic depletion of these cells significantly improves lymphedema in a mouse model. However, while exciting, systemic depletion of these cells clinically may cause unacceptable morbidity. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine if treatment with topical tacrolimus, an FDA-approved treatment for atopic dermatitis that is known to deplete CD4+ T cells locally, is effective as a treatment for lymphedema in our mouse model.

Our first is aim is to determine how local depletion of CD4+ T cell inflammation regulates fibrosis and lymphatic function in lymphedema. This aim will test the hypothesis that depletion of local CD4+ T cells in lymphedematous tissues with topical tacrolimus will decrease expression of pro-fibrotic cytokines, decrease fibrosis, and improve lymphatic function.

Our second aim is to determine how local depletion of CD4+ T cells regulates lymphangiogenesis. This aim will test the hypothesis that depletion of T cells locally will increase migration, proliferation, and tubularization of lymphatic endothelial cells ultimately resulting in increased lymphatic regeneration.

The approach outlined in this proposal is innovative because we aim to treat the pathological forces responsible for lymphedema. It utilizes a well-tolerated, locally-acting agent that is FDA-approved for other inflammatory skin conditions caused by T cell inflammation. This approach may be useful as an adjunct to surgical therapies (similar to the combination of chemotherapy and surgery) or in combination with palliative treatments in patients suffering from flare-ups or those who are poor surgical candidates.

Jason Gardenier, MD was raised in McLean, VA and graduated summa cum laude with a BA in International Relations from the College of William and Mary. He went on to obtain his MD from the University of Virginia. After completing two years of general surgery residency at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center, he began a prestigious research fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center under the guidance of Dr. Babak Mehrara, MD, FACS. Dr. Gardenier has focused his research efforts on improving the scientific understanding of adult lymphangiogenesis and improving animal models of lymphatic disease. He has also focusing on identifying appropriate pharmacologic targets to improve surgical and nonsurgical treatment of lymphedema.