Almost ten years ago, the group led by Erwin Wagner, currently at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), developed genetically modified mice showing symptoms very reminiscent to psoriasis. After publishing this discovery in Nature, the researchers decided to use this mouse model to study the underlying molecular pathways involved in disease development, and to look for innovative and efficient therapies. Now the group has discovered two possible novel treatments, based on existing pharmacological compounds, which are likely to cause fewer side effects.
Psoriasis affects up to 3% of the world's population and can seriously affect the quality of life of these patients. The primary causes are largely unknown and the disease is not curable. The latest generation of drugs developed to combat it - so-called biological therapies - are thought to be a big step forward, but can only be applied for limited periods of time due to serious side effects, which can generate other forms of psoriasis, or even cause tuberculosis or leukaemia. Due to this it is important for psoriatic patients to develop efficient non-toxic treatments.
The two new strategies now published by CNIO researchers are the result of in-depth studies of the disease biology that have revealed some of the underlying molecular causes.
In the first study published in the December issue of the high impact journal Immunity, it is shown how the symptoms of psoriasis disappear by deleting a protein called S100A9. In the second article, which is published in Science Translational Medicine, the researchers show that inhibiting a non-coding micro RNA, named miR-21, ameliorates the disease symptoms.
As Helia Schnthaler, the first author, and collegues write in Immunity: "over the past decade, biological therapies have been shown to be effective against inflammatory diseases. These treatments, however, are a cause of worry due to the
|Contact: Nuria Noriega|
Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncologicas (CNIO)