Genetic Activity Linked to Psoriasis

Finding opens up new avenues for treating incurable skin disease

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MONDAY, Jan. 5, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Researchers have linked psoriasis to genetic activity involved with the development of the vascular system, a discovery that could lead to additional therapies for treating psoriasis.

Psoriasis is a lifelong skin disease that occurs when faulty signals in the immune system cause skin cells to regenerate too quickly. Extra skin cells build up on the skin's surface, forming red, flaky, scaly lesions that can itch, crack, bleed and be extremely painful.

Previous research has shown that a gene that regulates vascular development, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), is found in high levels in psoriatic skin lesions.

Now British physicians have found certain variations of the VEGF gene occur with greater frequency in some people with psoriasis. Drugs that block the activity of VEGF could one day be used to treat psoriasis, the researchers conclude.

The study was conducted by Dr. Helen S. Young and her colleagues at the University of Manchester. It appears in the Jan. 3 issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about psoriasis.

SOURCES: National Psoriasis Foundation, news release, Jan. 3, 2003

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