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New hope for better treatment of psoriasis

January 11, 2012
Linköping University
Researchers are developing a promising new treatment for psoriasis. The study focuses on the psoriasin protein.

Researchers at Linköping University are now launching a plan to effectively treat psoriasis. About 300 000 Swedes suffer from the difficult to treat disease, which manifests itself in scaly and often itchy patches on the skin. The reason is that cells divide without restraint as new blood vessels form in the deeper layers of the skin.

An important component is the psoriasin protein

(S100A7), which are abundant in psoriasis-affected skin but rarely in normal skin. The same protein is also assumed to be a factor in the development of breast cancer. The research team, led by associate professor Charlotta Enerbäck, have now illustrated that, in a study on cultured skin cells, the interaction between psoriasin, oxygen free radicals and vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF) leads to significantly increased cell division and growth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis). When we blocked the formation of psoriasin, the expression of VEGF also decreased.

Published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, the results open new possibilities for the effective treatment of this crippling disease.

"We want to examine the ability of psoriasin as a target for therapy. By inhibiting psoriasin, we believe we can reduce vascular formation and thus the proliferation of the disease's magnitude and intensity," says Charlotta Enerbäck.

Previous studies in mice have shown that angiogenesis inhibitors reduce not only neovascularization but also inflammation and excessive cell division. Attempts to inhibit the growth factor VEGF have resulted in unwanted side effects because it exists in normal tissue where it contributes to wound healing.

"Since psoriasin expresses itself specifically only in the diseased psoriatic skin, we expect that inhibitors against this are highly selective and effective against the disease, and that the risk for side effects is minimal," says Charlotta Enerbäck.

Presently, palliative treatments with vitamin D, cortisone, light and low doses of chemotherapy are used. More recently, some "biological," antibody-based drugs arrived on the market, however they are very expensive and not free from side effects.

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Materials provided by Linköping University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Emman Shubbar, Jenny Vegfors, Maria Carlström, Stina Petersson, Charlotta Enerbäck. Psoriasin (S100A7) increases the expression of ROS and VEGF and acts through RAGE to promote endothelial cell proliferation. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 2011; DOI: 10.1007/s10549-011-1920-5

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Linköping University. "New hope for better treatment of psoriasis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 January 2012. <>.
Linköping University. (2012, January 11). New hope for better treatment of psoriasis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 28, 2017 from
Linköping University. "New hope for better treatment of psoriasis." ScienceDaily. (accessed May 28, 2017).