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Two New Psoriasis Treatments May Be Ready for Human Testing

THURSDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDayNews) -- Two separate approaches to treating psoriasis, a painful condition that attacks the skin, have shown promise in the lab and may be rerady to try on humans.

The first is an experimental drug called benzodiazepine-423 (Bz-423) that's a chemical cousin of the anti-anxiety drugs Valium and Xanax, a new University of Michigan study finds.

In human skin cultures designed to model psoriasis, the researchers found that Bz-423 suppressed cell growth. Psoriasis is characterized by unchecked cell growth.

"Currently, the best treatments for skin lesions associated with psoriasis are topical steroids, but the problem with those drugs is that they're not selective for the disease-causing cells. They affect normal cells as well, and repeated use over time can lead to tissue destruction," Gary Glick, a professor of biological chemistry, said in a prepared statement.

"What makes our compound particularly exciting is that it has the potential to be applied topically, and it shows very good selectivity for models of the disease-causing cells versus normal cells. So we believe the problems associated with repeated topical steroid use could possibly be alleviated with compounds like this," Glick said.

He and his colleagues hope to begin human clinical trials with Bz-423 in the near future.

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