Entries in Psoriasis (4)


Gene Altering Lotion May Treat Skin Diseases

Comstock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Imagine a lotion that can treat irreversible genetic skin diseases like psoriasis or life-threatening skin cancers like melanoma.

Researchers at Northwestern University say they're another step closer to creating a treatment that will naturally slip through the skin and genetically alter cells to treat a particular skin disease.

Using creams and lotions to target a particular problem area is seen as a great advantage among many dermatologists in treating a localized skin problem.

"We like to treat skin diseases with topical creams so that we avoid side effects from treatments taken by mouth or injected," said Dr. Amy Paller, chair of dermatology and professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

But the difficulty among researchers has been creating a gene-altering topical agent that can successfully penetrate the skin to specifically treat genetic skin diseases.

"The problem is that our skin is a formidable barrier," Paller said.  "Genetic material can't get through the skin through regular means."

Using nanotechnology, the researchers packaged gene-altering structures on top of tiny particles of gold designed to target epidermal growth factor receptor, a genetic marker associated with many types of skin cancers.  The structure is designed to sneak through the skin and latch onto targets underneath without eliciting an immune response.

The researchers mixed the structure into the ointment Aquaphor, which is commonly used among many patients who have dry skin or irritation.

The researchers then rubbed the ointment onto the mice and onto human skin tissue and saw that the gene-altering structure in the lotion successfully penetrated the skin and was able to shut down the potentially cancer-causing protein, according to the findings published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The preliminary study is regarded as the first to deliver topical gene therapy effectively with no toxic effects.

But even with no documented side effects found in the study, nanotechnology treatments, especially those that rely on gold particles, can potentially cause problems in the body in the long term, according to Dr. Mark Abdelmalek, chief of the division of laser and dermatologic surgery at Drexel University School of Medicine.

"It's naive to expect that putting something like this in the body would have absolutely no side effects," he said.

Another unknown is whether the approach will work on humans, and what the long term effects may be, he said.

"It is temporarily changing the protein while the structure is in contact with the cells, but it doesn't permanently change the genetic defect," Abdelmalek said.  "This is all brand new and exciting, but there's still many things we just don't know."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study Links Psoriasis to Increased Risk of Stroke

JupiterImages/Thinkstock(OXFORD, U.K.) -- A new study has found that Psoriasis is linked to an increased risk of Atrial Fibrillation (AF) and ischaemic stroke.

The study involved approximately 4.5 million individuals, and found that people with severe Psoriasis faced a greater risk of AF. According to the study's findings, which were published in the European Heart Journal, Psoriasis patients were also found to have demonstrated a "severity-dependent increased risk of ischaemic stroke."

A report by BBC News states that the study found the highest risk of stroke to be among young Psoriasis patients, with researchers explaining that this may be as a result of skin and blood vessels sharing similar inflammation sources.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Kim Kardashian Diagnosed With Psoriasis

Andy Kropa/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Kim Kardashian took a break from photo shoots and celebrity engagements to visit her dermatologist on Sunday night's episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. After finding red, flaky patches of skin on her legs, Dr. Harold Lancer diagnosed the reality star with psoriasis, an autoimmune disorder that causes rapid skin cell growth that can manifest itself as thick silvery scales and itchy dry red patches on the skin.

"People don't understand the pressure on me to look perfect," Kardashian said on the show. "When I gain a pound, it's in the headlines. Imagine what the tabloids would do to me if they saw all these spots?"

Lancer suggested that she "lead an easier, slower-paced life."

"That's just not possible," she replied.

Catie Coman, director of communications for the National Psoriasis Foundation, empathized with the reality star. "The population can often be very cruel because they think the disease is contagious or has to do with being dirty," said Coman, who noted that LeAnn Rimes also battled the condition. "Celebrities with psoriasis are under intense pressure, and stress is a trigger for psoriasis."

Most types of psoriasis go through cycles in which the condition flares up for a few weeks or months, then subsides for a period of time.

"Once you're diagnosed with it, you don't know how often or severe you're going to get it," said Dr. Lawrence Green, a Washington, D.C., dermatologist and member of the board of trustees at the National Psoriasis Foundation. "She can try different treatments and see how they keep the rash at bay. You just have to wait and see."

Kardashian is one of 7.5 million Americans who have the disorder, which can range from a mild skin rash to a debilitating condition. Experts say smoking, alcohol and high stress levels can contribute to outbreaks. Obesity, stress, viral and bacterial infections such as HIV and, most significantly, a family history, put a person at an increased risk of psoriasis. About 30 percent of psoriasis patients will be diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, a chronic condition that causes pain and stiffness in the joints.

Kardashian's mother was diagnosed with psoriasis at the age of 30.

Kardashian's publicist did not return requests for comment, but from watching the short clip of Kardashian at the doctor's, Green said her psoriasis patches could probably be treated with an ointment or excimer laser, a type of ultraviolet light that slows skin cell growth.

Creams and ointments can successfully treat mild to moderate psoriasis outbreaks, while injections, ultraviolet light lasers and oral medications are available for more serious outbreaks.

"People with psoriasis should know that they don't have to live with it," said Green. "It can be very well treated. They just have to take those first steps and go see a dermatologist."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Researchers Link Childhood Obesity to Psoriasis, Heart Disease

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- Researchers have found there is a widespread presence of psoriasis -- a chronic inflammatory skin disease -- among children who are obese or overweight.

Additionally, teens with the skin disease also have higher cholesterol levels regardless of body weight, which gives them  an increased risk of heart disease, according to the Kaiser Permanente study published online in the Journal of Pediatrics.

The study authors concluded that there is an apparent link between obesity and psoriasis in children as well as a higher risk for heart disease.  Parents and physicians "may need to monitor youth with psoriasis more closely for cardiovascular risk factors, especially if they are obese," said the study's lead author Corinna Koebnick, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio