An investigation of the roles of IL-17A and IL-17F in the pathogenesis of psoriasis
Psoriasis is a chronic disabling disease affecting nearly 2 million people in the UK. It is characterised by raised, red and scaly patches on the skin, which can be distressing. Psoriasis is not just a skin condition, in that people with psoriasis are more likely to have additional serious health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and depression. While we do not know what causes psoriasis, we do know that the immune system play a major role in its development.
Cells of the immune system produce chemicals (cytokines) that help the different systems in the body to talk to each other so that we remain healthy. A particular cytokine, IL-17, which contains 6 forms labelled A to F, helps the body to fend off infections. We also know that IL-17, in particular IL-17A, is important in psoriasis, but we do not fully understand what the other members’ (e.g. IL-17F) roles are in the disease.
The aim of the study is to investigate whether IL-17F is also important in psoriasis. By understanding the different members of IL-17 family and their roles in psoriasis development better, it will help us to develop new medicines to treat psoriasis more effectively by tailoring to the individual patient. Furthermore, the findings are likely to give us more valuable information on other diseases where IL-17 is involved.
Working with industry
During her Fellowship Dr Xu has been working with UCB. She says:
“There has been outstanding engagement from my industry partner UCB throughout the fellowship. From the inception of my project, I have been well supported by my industry supervisor and the UCB team. We meet on a regular basis with many opportunities to be part of the wider industry team. I have relished and very much enjoyed the experience. I look forward to an extended period working at UCB later in my fellowship and beyond.”