Researchers Helia B. Schonthaler and Erwin Wagner of the National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) show in a study in mice that antibodies that block VEGF protein, which are used as anti-cancer and could be used as an effective treatment for psoriasis. The study results are published in the online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The work, led by Schonthaler and performed mainly in the laboratory of Wagner in the CNIO, focuses on the protein vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) that plays a key role in the formation of blood vessels. The protein is present at high levels in psoriasis patches on the skin of people with the disorder. Furthermore, systemic levels of VEGF, such as the level of VEGF in the blood of patients appear to be higher with increasing severity of the disease.

According to Europa Press said Helia B. Schonthaler, “we saw an increase of VEGF with excessive formation of blood vessels in the skin of our mouse model of psoriasis. Using anti-VEGF antibody that blocks VEGF, symptoms similar to psoriasis in the skin of these mice was greatly reduced. For example, the thickness and inflammation of the skin almost to normal with a smaller number and size of blood vessels”.

The researchers showed for the first time that blocking VEGF may be an effective treatment for psoriasis in this mouse model. When the researchers injected an anti-VEGF antibody to mice observed a substantial improvement in symptoms similar to psoriasis.

“The skin of these animals showed an almost normal epidermal architecture and fewer and smaller blood vessels. Could therefore be possible to use anti-VEGF antibody as a therapy for psoriasis patients,” adds Schonthaler.

Antibodies to block VEGF are already being used to treat cancer patients, which prevents blood vessel formation in growing tumors. The results suggest CNIO team now that could be used not only to treat cancer patients but also those who suffer from psoriasis.

In November this year, another team led by CNIO Juan Guinea-Viniegra published a study in the journal Genes & Development which described a new mechanism of skin inflammation is controlled by the transcription factor complex Jun/AP- 1 in mouse models. In previous work, Wagner’s laboratory had linked the altered expression of proteins Jun/AP-1 with psoriasis.

According to the researchers, the causes of psoriasis are possibly the result of a complex combination of genetic and environmental factors and there is no cure for the disorder. The group works Guinea-Viniegra well open the way for the development of new targets for the treatment of inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis and even cancer.

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