What are researchers doing to find a psoriasis cure? Here are a few of the hottest new research areas.
Infections as triggers
We already know that a strep throat infection can bring on one type of psoriasis (guttate psoriasis). But could other infections be involved? Scientists are examining the role of many different bacteria and viruses, such as papillomaviruses, Staphylococcus, and Malassezia furfur, to see whether they could be triggers for psoriasis. Once we know which infections are triggers, treatments and screening tests can be developed to help prevent and control psoriasis.
In psoriasis, skin cells in the affected areas grow out of control, leading to scaly patches. Researchers are identifying the genes that are involved in uncontrolled skin cell growth. The goal is then to develop treatments that target these genes and help keep skin cell growth under control.
Fine-tuning the immune system
The immune system plays a complex role in psoriasis. Older treatments targeted the whole immune system, which can increase the risk of infections. Understanding which parts of the immune system are involved in psoriasis will help in developing treatments that target only the problem areas. Biologics are one example of targeted treatment. They act on the T-cells, which are overactive in psoriasis. Researchers are also looking for other new targets. One promising target is the cytokines. Cytokines are the chemical messengers that immune system cells use to communicate. Targeting the cytokines could produce a fine-tuned treatment with fewer side effects.
Attacking the supply lines
In order to grow, skin cells need a blood supply. Scientists are working on treatments that could block new blood vessels from forming in areas affected by psoriasis. By stopping new blood vessels from forming in these areas, skin cell growth could be brought under control. This could help treat psoriasis.
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