Psoriasis – a common, chronic skin disease that affects over 100 million people worldwide. It is incurable, even though there are pretty effective techniques for managing the symptoms. However, now scientists from the University of Birmingham have discovered a protein, which could eventually lead to more effective therapies for many skin problems including psoriasis.
This protein is part of the JARID2 molecule, which was believed to be present exclusively only in developing embryo. Its main task is to coordinate formation of tissues and organs, but now scientists found a shortened form of JARID2 in adult skin cells. Scientists believe than in adult people this protein is responsible for making skin cells specialized to fulfil different roles. The protein in question has been named N-JARID2 and is already being considered to be used in therapies targeting such conditions as psoriasis and many others, because in certain diseases skin cells lose their ability to differentiate and reproduce, which causes many problems.
Scientists hope that N-JARID2 protein will be able to redirect such “lost” cells back to their specialized functions. If it is effective in this application, symptoms of such diseases as psoriasis could be alleviated by returning cells back to their usual live cycle. Psoriasis is caused by the rapid and pretty much uncontrollable reproduction of skin cells. And excess of cells forms and some of them get pushed to the surface too quickly, resulting in build-ups. These cells are not mature enough and cause the surface of the skin to be crusty, scaly and patchy. Scientists believe that N-JARID2 protein plays a role in the development of this disease.
If cells would maintain their normal differentiation and life cycle, psoriasis simply could not happen. This means that N-JARID2 protein, recently discovered in the skin layers, is not functioning properly. This is what caught attention of the scientists, making N-JARID2 protein an attractive candidate for novel therapies addressing psoriasis and other conditions of hyper-proliferation of skin cells. Now scientists will attempt figuring out how N-JARID2 is generated and what exactly is its role in the disease. These studies could ultimately lead to novel therapies for skin conditions.
Psoriasis affects over 100 million people worldwide. While in most cases this disease can be managed, eventually it can damage joints. People don’t feel confident baring their skin and it significantly impacts their quality of life. Literally millions of people are hoping that an effective treatment is discovered.
Source: University of Birmingham