DEBRA International has played a vital role over the years in progressing research into treatments and cures for EB. We recently published a Research Impact Report to show the fantastic work being done through DEBRA International. In this report, we mention the role of the Medical and Scientific Panel (MSAP). When DEBRA International receive applications from scientists, the MSAP help to advise which projects DEBRA should fund. It is made up of senior EB researchers and clinicians who, jointly, reflect the breadth of EB research.
Owing to disruption of international travel by the COVID-19 pandemic, the MSAP met virtually, recently, to consider new applications for research grants. After more than thirty years of MSAP meeting history, it was the first time the panel did not meet in person.
In total, 15 project proposals were submitted for funding. These proposals were initially evaluated by 60 international reviewers in total, which provided the basis for the MSAP virtual meeting. The standard criteria for the evaluation were of scientific quality and originality, value for money, and potential to benefit people with EB.
Five national DEBRA groups (DEBRA Austria, DEBRA UK, DEBRA Ireland, DEBRA Spain and DEBRA France) attended the MSAP meeting as observers – two of them having already committed to fund one or two of the recommended research projects.
We wish to thank all MSAP members for their commitment to helping people with EB. We hope that DEBRA Ireland will be in a position to fund more DEBRA International projects in 2021.