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First DNA from National Psoriasis Victor Henschel BioBank released for study

Dr. James Elder, M.D., Ph.D., with the first released samples from the National Psoriasis Victor Henschel BioBank.The first-ever release of National Psoriasis Victor Henschel BioBank DNA samples brings millions of Americans struggling with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis one step closer to a cure. Scientists will use the samples for research that hopes to uncover the unknowns about the genetics of psoriatic disease and its causes.

James T. Elder, M.D., Ph.D., professor of molecular genetic dermatology in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Michigan Health System, and his research team received the first 1,250 BioBank DNA samples on Sept. 1, 2010. They will use them to identify new genes that increase a person's risk for developing psoriasis and also examine the connection between psoriasis and other autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn's disease.

The National Psoriasis BioBank, started by the National Psoriasis Foundation in 2006, is a collection of DNA samples and clinical information used by scientists to advance the field of psoriasis genetics. Once it meets its completion goals, the BioBank will be the largest single collection of psoriasis DNA samples in the world.

"The BioBank is a critical resource for bringing us one step closer to a cure for psoriasis, and we are honored to partner with Dr. Elder and his team on this landmark project," said Rick Seiden, chair of the National Psoriasis Foundation Board of Trustees. "This endeavor would not be possible without the hundreds of people with and without psoriatic disease who donated DNA over the past four years. We thank all of them for their vital contribution to psoriasis research."

The BioBank honors Victor Henschel, a highly respected member of the psoriasis community who lived with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis for 35 years. The Henschel family, many of whom also live with psoriatic disease, donated money to the Foundation to start the BioBank.

Contribute your DNA today or learn more about the BioBank.

Sept. 2, 2010