Scientists discover ‘psoriasis molecule’
LA JOLLA (CNS) – Researchers at the UC San Diego School of Medicine
announced this week they've discovered that a single molecule might hold the
key to curing both psoriasis and slow-healing wounds.
In an article published in Thursday's edition of Immunity, the
international team of scientists said they discovered that a molecule called
“regenerating islet-derived protein 3-alpha,” or REG3A is common in skin
cells during psoriasis and wound-healing, but not under normal conditions.
Psoriasis is an auto-immune disorder that became infamous with the
“heartbreak of psoriasis” phrase in television commercials.
With psoriasis, skin cells proliferate out of control, causing patches
of inflammation and white, scaly skin.
In slow-to-heal wounds, they don't grow fast enough.
“A drug that inhibits the expression of REG3A could represent a more
targeted way to treat psoriasis without the systemic immuno-suppression
problems of current treatments,” said Dr. Richard Gallo, a professor of
medicine and chief of UCSD's Division of Dermatology. “Conversely, a drug that
stimulates or mimics REG3A could boost cell growth and improve wound healing.”
Gallo's team analyzed skin biopsies of patients with and without
psoriasis, as well as the skin of mice with psoriasis and wounds on their
backs. Blocking REG3A slowed wound-healing but cleared up psoriasis on the
The scientists also found that REG3A acts in concert with an immune
system protein involved in a signaling process that prompts skin cells to
multiply in excess numbers.