Yale Medicine dermatologist Richard Edelson, MD, is the chair of the Department of Dermatology. Dr. Edelson cares for patients who have any number of skin conditions.
He is a nationally recognized skin cancer expert. His groundbreaking research in the 1980s proved that a skin fungus once called “mycosis fungoides” is actually a cancer of the lymphocytes. He renamed the disease, which affects more than 10,000 people annually, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (or CTCL). “If untreated, it can spread to the blood and to other internal organs,” says Dr. Edelson. “It is really important to me to help patients fight this cancer.”
Using his research, he invented photopheresis, a treatment for advanced cases of CTCL. It’s a blood-filtering procedure in which blood is partially removed and treated in order to activate the immune system to fight the cancer. Photopheresis is often used with other conditions to bring balance to the immune system as well. A professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine, CTCL remains Dr. Edelson’s—and the department’s—central research interest today.
At Yale, Dr. Edelson has also served as director of the Yale Cancer Center, deputy dean for clinical affairs, director of the Cancer Center’s Lymphoma Research Program, and a member of both the Yale-New Haven Hospital Board of Trustees and the Yale Medicine Board of Governors.
Within the dermatology community, he is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians, and an honorary member of several international medical associations.