Researchers from Ben-Gurion University in collaboration with Teva Pharmaceuticals have developed an improved version of an experimental medicine for the treatment of the chronic skin disease psoriasis.
Dr. Marianna Zaretsky and Professor Amir Aharoni, from Ben-Gurion University and the National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev, working with Drs. Liora Tabron, Yoel Kay and Revital Etzioni from Teva, have engineered a transgenic receptor that binds with high affinity to natural interleukin-17.
Psoriasis is caused by the immune system sending out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. One of the signals involved in the process is interleukin-17. The researchers have developed a new method to inhibit interleukin-17, and hopefully decrease the inflammation associated with psoriasis.
“We developed this method to treat patients who did not respond to existing treatments,” Aharoni said.
According to the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations, upwards of 125 million people suffer worldwide from the disease. Celebrities including Kim Kardashian and Art Garfunkel have battled publicly with the disease.