A new therapy to treat psoriasis


Scientists from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and the Department of Dermatology at Erasme Hospital have discovered a new therapy to treat psoriasis. The results of their research have been published in Science Advances.

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease characterised by a proliferation and abnormal differentiation of the skin cells, causing the appearance of red patches that sometimes become flaky and itchy. The symptoms of this disease are often painful.

The disease affects approximately 3% of the population and is incurable. UV-based treatments are available and there is medication available that suppresses the immune system. Most cases can be treated with steroid skin creams, but these generally cause side effects.

The research team discovered that the genetic modification of the VEGF gene, one of the key genes in the development of psoriasis, could considerably slow the progress of the disease and even make the body more resilient to it. This method would also cause fewer side effects than current treatments. Until now, it was thought that the VEGF gene only acted on the blood vessels, but by blocking certain molecules, it apparently activates the skin cells and allows patients to feel better.

Cédric Blanpain, Professor at ULB and a researcher on this project, believes that this discovery paves the way for new, safer treatments with fewer side effects for serious cases of psoriasis.