National Psoriasis Foundation awards five Translational Research Grants

Scientists to identify new treatments and methods for managing psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis

PORTLAND, Ore. (June 3, 2015)—Five researchers each received a two-year, $200,000 grant from the National Psoriasis Foundation for their work to improve treatments for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, determine genetic risk factors and find new ways to manage psoriatic disease. 

The National Psoriasis Foundation Translational Research Grant program supports research that converts basic discoveries into treatments, best practices or cures that benefit patients. Learn more about the program: www.psoriasis.org/grants.

"The National Psoriasis Foundation drives efforts to cure psoriatic disease by funding these innovative projects ranging from how gut bacteria and diet could impact psoriatic disease to examining genetic risk factors that may lead to personalized treatment options," said Randy Beranek, National Psoriasis Foundation president and CEO. "This year, we're also excited to collaborate on a Psoriatic Arthritis Research Grant with the Arthritis National Research Foundation that helps deepen our commitment to psoriatic arthritis."

The Translational Research Grant recipients and their projects are:

  • Iannis Adamopoulos, Ph.D., of the University of California, Davis, will explore how the pro-inflammatory protein called interleukin 17 (IL-17) causes psoriatic arthritis by interacting with a certain type of cell not previously associated with this disease. Findings from the study could lead to future investigations of psoriatic arthritis treatments that block IL-17.
  • Wilson Liao, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, will study bacteria in the gut to see if people with psoriasis have abnormal microbiomes that could cause psoriasis and related conditions like heart disease. This research will shed light on how changing gut bacteria through diet could impact psoriatic disease.
  • John Šedý, Ph.D., of Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, will investigate whether targeting specific proteins found on the surface of immune cells can disrupt the inflammatory process of psoriatic disease with the aim of developing targeted treatments.
  • Robert Winchester, M.D., of Columbia University, will examine whether certain psoriatic arthritis symptoms and disease severity are linked to specific genetic risk factors. The goal of his work is to develop personalized treatments based on an individual's genetic risk factors for psoriatic arthritis.
  • The Bill and Jodi Felton Psoriatic Arthritis Research Grant supporting Iouri Chepelev, Ph.D., at Cincinnati Children's Hospital is a collaborative project with the Arthritis National Research Foundation. This grant will identify DNA mutations that lead to improper functioning of the interleukin-23 pathway in psoriatic arthritis. Interleukin-23 is a protein involved in the inflammation of psoriatic disease. Chepelev's work could identify new risk factors for PsA and lead to more targeted treatments.

A chronic, systemic disease of the immune system, psoriasis is the most common autoimmune disease in the country, affecting up to 7.5 million Americans. It puts people at increased risk for heart disease, heart attack and diabetes, among other health conditions. Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory disease of the joints and tendons. If left untreated, psoriatic arthritis can be disabling.

Learn more about the National Psoriasis Foundation research at www.psoriasis.org/grants.


About the National Psoriasis Foundation

Serving its community through more than 50 years of patient support, advocacy, research funding, and education, the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is the world’s leading nonprofit fighting for individuals with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The NPF mission is to drive efforts to cure psoriatic disease and dramatically improve the lives of more than 8 million Americans affected by this chronic immune-mediated disease. As part of that effort, NPF created its Patient Navigation Center to offer personalized assistance to everyone with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. To date, NPF has funded more than $21 million in research grants and fellowships that help drive discoveries that may lead to more and better treatments and ultimately a cure. Learn more at www.psoriasis.org.