Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Light Fights Psoriasis

Date:
May 9, 2009
Source:
Rockefeller University
Summary:
Ultraviolet light is a proven treatment for psoriasis, one of humanity's oldest known diseases. Sunshine can also beat back the chronic autoimmune disorder of the skin. But explaining light's therapeutic effects has been difficult.

Bright lights. By studying psoriasis patients treated with narrowband ultraviolet light in a light box (above), researchers hope to learn how phototherapy fights the skin disease at the molecular level.
Credit: Image courtesy of Rockefeller University

Ultraviolet light is a proven treatment for psoriasis, one of humanity’s oldest known diseases. Sunshine can also beat back the chronic autoimmune disorder of the skin. But explaining light’s therapeutic effects has been difficult.

“We know it works, but we want to know how,” says Michelle Lowes, an assistant professor of clinical investigation in the Laboratory for Investigative Dermatology at Rockefeller University. “Does it target the pathways that we think are important in the disease?”

A new clinical trial under way at the Center for Clinical and Translational Science in The Rockefeller University Hospital will literally shine light on the disease in hopes of finding out. Researchers, including Lowes and Clinical Research Nurse Practitioner Patricia Gilleaudeau, have recruited the first of what will be 20 patients who will visit the hospital three times a week for up to four months to receive narrowband ultraviolet light B (UVB) treatment. Patients will give skin and blood samples as the treatment takes its course, giving the scientists the possibility to study what is happening at the molecular level as the skin gets better.

UVB therapy is known to kill off T cells, which are partly to blame for the inflammation caused by the disease. For years, Lowes has been systematically accounting for the cell types and proteins involved in the disease. She is specifically interested in whether UVB targets a pathway involving two immune system proteins called cytokines, which she believes may disrupt certain types of T cells and another specialized group of immune-directing dendritic cells. “If we can define the mechanism of action we may potentially have new therapeutic targets for psoriasis and other diseases,” says Lowes, the recipient of a 2008 Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Clinical Scientist Development Award, which is supporting the study.

Doctors often recommend UVB therapy if standard ointment treatments fail and if patients would rather avoid a systemic immunosuppressive drug regimen that has been developed more recently. Patients receive the treatment, brief blasts of UVB, standing inside an upright cabinet whose inside is lined with fluorescent tube lights. The duration of the light exposure increases over the course of the treatment.

Lowes hopes to have some preliminary results in about a year. “We are excited about studying this commonly used therapy for psoriasis with modern methods, and hope that this will lead to a better understanding of this complicated and common skin disease,” she says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rockefeller University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rockefeller University. "How Light Fights Psoriasis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090429175930.htm>.
Rockefeller University. (2009, May 9). How Light Fights Psoriasis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090429175930.htm
Rockefeller University. "How Light Fights Psoriasis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090429175930.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins