they figured out how to cause psoriasis

Next step is figuring out how to stop it, which looks promising, according to a news story in Reuters today:

They found that it takes a combination of a protein called STAT3 and an active immune system to cause psoriasis, which experts estimate affects as much as 2 percent of the population.

Their finding suggests that psoriasis may start with an over-enthusiastic attempt by the body to heal wounds.

And the researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center made a skin cream that blocked the process that leads to psoriasis in mice.

“We may have found an entirely new treatment option for psoriasis,” said M.D. Anderson’s John DiGiovanni, who led the study.

“We have developed a mouse model that exhibits all the major features of human psoriatic lesions and shown we can reverse those steps.”


DiGiovanni’s team first looked for activated STAT3 in the skin of psoriasis patients and found high levels of activated STAT3 in psoriasis lesions in 19 of 21 of them.

They bred a mouse in which STAT3 is always turned on in the keratinocyte skin cells, and these mice always developed psoriasis.

The researchers then developed a solution containing a small piece of DNA called an oligonucleotide, which was designed to prevent STAT3 from activating genes.

It helped clear up the lesions in the mice.

“This study opens the door to a whole new kind of therapy for psoriasis,” said DiGiovanni.

Dare I hope? I wonder as I sit here writing this with crab-claw hands—the lesions are particularly painful today.

Here is the abstract from the journal Nature Medicine, the article is Stat3 links activated keratinocytes and immunocytes required for development of psoriasis in a novel transgenic mouse model

Here we report that epidermal keratinocytes in psoriatic lesions are characterized by activated Stat3. Transgenic mice with keratinocytes expressing a constitutively active Stat3 (K5.Stat3C mice) develop a skin phenotype either spontaneously, or in response to wounding, that closely resembles psoriasis. Keratinocytes from K5.Stat3C mice show upregulation of several molecules linked to the pathogenesis of psoriasis. In addition, the development of psoriatic lesions in K5.Stat3C mice requires cooperation between Stat3 activation in keratinocytes and activated T cells. Finally, abrogation of Stat3 function by a decoy oligonucleotide inhibits the onset and reverses established psoriatic lesions in K5.Stat3C mice. Thus, targeting Stat3 may be potentially therapeutic in the treatment of psoriasis.

It costs $30 to read the entire article, so I’ll pass on it at this time.

I hope they’re finally on the path to a real treatment for psoriasis. I volunteer to test the cream when it goes into trials. It would be great to have an effective treatment since I can’t yet afford to go soak in the Dead Sea for two weeks. Maybe it won’t be a poison. Maybe it will even be something I can afford ...

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