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NPF-supported researcher studies new pathway involved in psoriasis

Research may lead to the discovery of new drugs for psoriasis

Dr. Sam Hwang, a psoriasis researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and his colleagues recently identified two proteins called CCR6 and CCL20 that appear to have significant involvement in the development of psoriasis. In the study, mice treated with an antibody that targets the CCL20 protein showed significantly reduced psoriasis symptoms.

These findings, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, are significant because they are the first time an agent targeting the CCL20-CCR6 pathway has been shown to result in improved psoriasis in a laboratory setting.

Funding from the National Psoriasis Foundation will allow Hwang to investigate these proteins further to better understand how they impact the development of psoriasis. With his two-year, $200,000 Lutto Translational Grant—named to recognize a Foundation bequest from Seymour and Rebecca Lutto, in memory of their son Lawrence—Hwang will use computer and structural models of CCL20 and CCR6 to investigate the drugs that block the actions of these proteins, which could improve the current therapy for psoriasis.

If discovered, these molecules could identify new treatments for psoriasis and other inflammatory diseases influenced by the CCL20-CCR6 pathway.

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July 19, 2012 

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