Psoriasis symptoms can be managed but there is no cure for the condition.
FLANDERS, Belgium, (UPI) — A genetic mutation activates proteins responsible for inflammation in psoriasis, and researchers say their finding suggests more effective treatments for the condition could be on the horizon.
Researchers at the Vlaams Institute for Biotechnology report in a new study that drug treatment to block the protein MALT1 prevented the immune response that causes inflammation in psoriasis.
Psoriasis, which has no cure, though symptoms can be managed, is an immune reaction caused by a genetic mutation resulting in skin cells growing at an abnormally fast rate. Often, another disease or condition triggers it, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.
One of the genes involved in the development of psoriasis is CARD14, mutations to which cause it to activate other proteins, including NF-kB and MALT1, both of which are involved with factors driving inflammation and psoriasis.
For the study, published in the journal EMBO Reports, the researchers isolated skin cells called keratinocytes which are central to psoriasis, finding CARD14 physically and functionally activates MALT1.
Using drugs to inhibit the function of MALT1 reduced the production of proteins involved with increased inflammation and abnormal cell growth, which they said may have potential as a treatment. More research is needed, however, and researchers say an industrial partner will be needed to develop a marketable treatment if the idea works in people.
“Our findings raise the interesting possibility that MALT1 inhibitors might be therapeutically beneficial for psoriasis patients with CARD14 mutations,” Dr. Rudi Beyaert, a professor at the Vlaams Institute for Biotechnology and Ghent University, said in a press release. “Whether MALT1 inhibitors may also be useful for the treatment of more common forms of psoriasis is currently under investigation.”