Skip to content

    Psoriasis Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Potential Target for Treating Psoriasis Found

    Blocking a Molecule in Skin Heals Psoriasis Patches
    By
    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
    Article
    Woman sitting in front of UV lights
    Slideshow
     
    Beware Miracle Diets For Psoriasis
    Article
    Psoriasis Laser Therapy
    Video
     
    10 Questions About Psoriasis To Ask Your Doctor
    Article
    psoriasis on elbow
    Article
     
    Psoriasis (Moderate to Severe)
    Article
    Psoriatic Arthritis Do You Know The Symptoms
    Article