A New Breakthrough In Psoriasis Research That Can Lead To New Treatments!
Scientists have been searching for abouttwo decades to find out what are the exact psoriasis causes. It has been thought that psoriasis is a genetic disorder of immune system that is triggered by an environmental factor. But the exact causes have remained as mystery.
Luckily, there has been a breaktrough in psoriasis research by Newswise – Scientists: a rear gene has been documented. The research is published May 4, 2012 in two separate papers in The American Journal of Human Genetics.
The research shows that rare mutations in the CARD14 gene, when activated by an environmental trigger, can lead to plaque psoriasis and other types of psoriasis.
This latest news can lead to more effective, targeted therapies for plaque psoriasis and other forms of the disease.
Anne Bowcock, PhD, professor of genetics says: "Individually, the rare mutations we have found are likely to confer a high risk for the disease, and we think they will be important in the search to find new, more effective treatments.
That new discovery points to defects in the skin as the main culprit of the condition and to immune cells as secondary players.
Now, the researchers want to find out how common the altered pathway is in the different types of psoriasis. Their work suggests that in at least some patients with different forms of psoriasis, this pathway is the same.
Using the latest DNA technology to sequence all genes, Bowcock and her colleagues uncovered a rare CARD14 mutation in several large families that had a large number of plaque psoriasis cases.
But mutations in the gene do not only occur in families with a genetic predisposition.
CARD14 mutation was also found in a 3-year-old girl with a severe case of pustular psoriasis. Neither of the girls' parents had mutations in CARD14, indicating that the rare mutation was not inherited but had occurred spontaneously.
Psoriasis most commonly develops after an environmental trigger, like infection, such as strep throat, or injury to the skin, including a cut or bug bite. Certain medications, smoking and heavy alcohol consumption are triggers as well.
"This is significant because it tells us that CARD14 mutations alone are enough to lead to psoriasis, possibly after an early trigger such as an infection," Bowcock explains. "You do not need anything else. This really highlights the importance of finding rare mutations for common diseases like psoriasis."
Psoriasis affects the life cycle of skin cells, causing them to mature in just a few days and show up as thick, scaly patches. Interestingly, in psoriasis patients with CARD14 mutations, the researchers found the gene's activity was increased in the skin's upper layers, which may explain the flakiness that characterizes the condition.
"Now, we have a much clearer picture of what is happening in psoriasis," Bowcock says. "And with all kinds of new theatrical targets that lie within the CARD14 pathway, the field is wide open."
Hopefully soon we will be hearing about new effective psoriasis treatments.