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New breakthrough announced in University of Leicester ’gene hunt’


A gene hunt being carried out at the University of Leicester for a skin disorder that affects over one million people in the UK alone has made a new breakthrough which could lead to the design of new and more targeted drugs.

The research team in the University of Leicester Division of Medical Genetics, led by Professor Richard Trembath, has been investigating Psoriasis - an inflammatory skin condition - for a number of years. Now Professor Trembath believes the research has made a ‘significant step’ towards understanding the causes of psoriasis by discovering detailed genetic differences in those afflicted with the disorder.

He said: “In individuals that are genetically predisposed to become affected, the disease can be triggered by a number of environmental agents, such as bacterial infections or stress. We have long been engaged in the search for genes that make people vulnerable to the action of psoriasis-triggering factors. “Our past studies have demonstrated that a small region of what is known as Chromosome 6 contained at least one of such psoriasis susceptibility genes. A closer examination of this genetic interval identified a gene called CDSN, responsible for the adhesion and shedding of skin cells.

“We have now identified a CDSN DNA variant, which is significantly more frequent among psoriatic patients, compared to unaffected individuals. “This variant may confer susceptibility to psoriasis by causing an accumulation of CDSN protein, which in turn could contribute to the inflammatory response observed in the skin of patients.” “This discovery represents a significant step towards the understanding of the molecular causes of psoriasis and the design of targeted therapeutic approaches.”

Ather Mirza | alfa
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