Three genes linked to psoriasis susceptibility identified on chromosome 17

Portland, Ore., Nov. 9, 2003 Researchers using data gleaned from a tissue bank created by the National Psoriasis Foundation have identified three of the first genes associated with psoriasis. The finding, published in the December 2003 issue of the prestigious journal Nature Genetics, marks a significant advance in the understanding of psoriasis, an immune-mediated disease with both genetic and environmental triggers, and may lead to new treatments for the disease.

"This is an exciting breakthrough that opens a new chapter in our quest to unlock the secrets of psoriasis," said Gail Zimmerman, president and CEO of the National Psoriasis Foundation. "We are clearly making great progress in understanding the complex genetic underpinnings of this often debilitating disease."

Anne M. Bowcock, Ph.D., of Washington University in St. Louis, and her colleagues identified three genes on chromosome 17 in which the "on and off" switches are impaired in statistically significant numbers of psoriasis patients. Several other psoriasis susceptibility genes are expected to be identified in the months and years ahead, including one on chromosome 6. In all, it is suspected that more than a dozen genes are involved in psoriasis.

"Over the next few years, researchers are going to identify a large number of psoriasis susceptibility genes," Dr. Bowcock said. "These will be important building blocks toward finding a cure in the future. In the meantime, the findings could help pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies craft the next generation of medications to treat the disease, and ultimately lead to more successful management of psoriasis."

This scientific research was made possible by the efforts of the Psoriasis Foundation, which created the National Psoriasis Tissue Bank and opened it in 1994 with money donated by Foundation members. This tissue bank, built with blood samples from hundreds of families with psoriasis, provided the raw material that the

Contact: Michael Paranzino
National Psoriasis Foundation

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