A new discovery that may lead to long lasting therapies against psoriasis and assist in healing has been found. A new type of immune cell has been discovered that can be out of control in certain chronic inflammatory diseases, worsening the symptoms of conditions like psoriasis, atopic eczema and asthma.
German Research Scientists have recently discovered a new type of immune cell that plays a role in certain chronic inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis and asthma. The cell which has been named Th22, is a type of immune cell called a T helper cell.
T helper cells are white blood cells that help control inflammation in the body to help fight off infection. They also activate other immune cells when the body comes under attack by a pathogen, such as a virus or bacteria.
How Th22 cells work
In healthy cells the Th22 cells have a protective effect as they produce a signaling molecule that provides tissues with an advance warning that inflammation or infection is going to happen. This gives the tissues time to prepare to attack the invading pathogen or protect themselves against inflammation.
The protective nature of Th22 cells is ineffective in people with chronic inflammatory skin diseases like psoriasis and atopic eczema as there appears to be a malfunction within the Th22 cell. This leads to excessive inflammation and often a worsening of symptoms.
“These diseases can have a big impact on people’s lives, and patients can face a constant battle to keep their symptoms at bay. We are very excited about discovering this new subset of T-helper cells, as we believe it could provide a new target for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases in the future.” stated Dr Carsten Schmidt-Weber of the National Heart and Lung Institute of Imperial College London in the UK.
What this means for eczema and psoriasis
Studies of the Th22 cells are continuing in more detail as researchers are hoping to determine their role in inflammatory diseases as well as where the cells are produced in the body. With this determined it may be possible to control the cells before they start to cause problems by targeting new drugs directly at the Th22 cells.