Case Western Reserve scientists have taken a huge leap toward identifying root causes of psoriasis, an inflammatory skin condition affecting 125 million people around the world. Of the roughly 50,000 proteins in the human body, researchers have zeroed in on four that appear most likely to contribute this chronic disease. The findings, published this month in Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, dramatically advance efforts to understand how psoriasis develops – and, in turn, how to stop it.
“Psoriasis affects 2 to 3 percent of the population worldwide,” said senior author Nicole L. Ward, PhD, associate professor of dermatology and neurosciences, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “The underlying cause of psoriasis remains unknown, and the specific signals that trigger disease onset are still being investigated. There currently is no cure.”
Ward’s lab is focused on studying the pathogenesis of the disease and its co-morbidities, including heart attack and stroke. Her group is actively working to identify new molecules key to the disease process that could become potential drug targets. Ward has a personal interest in this research – her father suffers from psoriasis.