Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Psoriasis Health Center

Font Size

Potential Target for Treating Psoriasis Found

Blocking a Molecule in Skin Heals Psoriasis Patches
WebMD Health News

Dec. 13, 2004 -- The key to stopping the skin disease psoriasis may be a molecule called Stat3 --a potential new target for psoriasis treatment.

Stat3 is found in most human skin cells that make up psoriasis patches, say scientists including Shigetoshi Sano of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Sano's team also found Stat3 in psoriasis patches on mice bred to have a psoriasis-like disorder.

In their mouse study, Sano's team found that blocking Stat3's function slows the onset of psoriasis patches and heals the patches, too.

Reporting their findings in the online edition of the journal Nature Medicine, the researchers say they don't know exactly how Stat3 exerts its influence. Still, they think future psoriasis treatments focused on Stat3 might work.

Psoriasis is one of the most common inflammatory skin conditions, affecting about 2% of people in western countries. It usually affects adults, but kids and teens can get it, too. Psoriasis causes patches of itchy, scaly, and sometimes inflamed skin.

Although they can appear anywhere, these patches are most likely to crop up on your knees, elbows, hands, feet, scalp, or back.

The symptoms of psoriasis can vary a great deal depending on its severity, ranging from mildly annoying to truly debilitating.

Its cause is unknown. Sano and colleagues say it's not clear if the problem is caused by abnormal skin cells or immune system problems, although both may be factors. There is no cure for psoriasis, although various treatments are available.

Stat3 has also gotten attention for other skin-related conditions. It's essential for healing skin wounds, says Sano's team.

In September, other researchers announced that lab tests on mice show that the gene that makes Stat3 may play a role in skin cancer. The gene may also be related to cancers of the prostate, breast, lung, head and neck, brain, and pancreas, according to that report.

Today on WebMD

Woman sitting in front of UV lights
About 7.5 million people in the U.S. Get the facts.
stress and psoriasis
What might spark your psoriasis today?
woman bathing
Slideshow: Home Remedies For Psoriasis
woman applying lotion
It starts in the immune system. Read on.
Top Psoriasis Treatments To Try At Home
Woman sitting in front of UV lights
Beware Miracle Diets For Psoriasis
Psoriasis Laser Therapy
10 Questions About Psoriasis To Ask Your Doctor
psoriasis on elbow
Psoriasis (Moderate to Severe)
Psoriatic Arthritis Do You Know The Symptoms