There are millions of people in the world suffering from psoriasis, and now a treatment based on the poison from fire ants, could be a new aid for all suffering from the condition.
The discovery was made by a group of scientists, who concluded that components derived from the fire ant venom, a reddish ant common in South America, could be completely revolutionary in the treatment of this incurable autoimmune disease.
This new research was carried out by an Emory University team, and found that the main toxic component of the venom of the scientific name ant Solenopsis, known as solenopsin, has a chemical composition very similar to the molecules known as ceramides, which help protecting the skin by causing the epidermis to retain its moisture and repel the microorganisms, which is why they are used in several types of topical skin medications.
But the ceramides themselves present a serious problem, which is that in some situations the molecule can become Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), which is a compound that promotes cell growth, but which can also lead to the existence of inflammation.
It is at this point that the venom from the fire ants enters as a key piece, and after scientists have detected the similarities between the solenopsin and the ceramides, have developed two analogues of the poison component, which does not have the ability to convert in S1P, and then added the analogs to a skin cream in a ratio in which the new component comprised one percent of the solution, and applied it subsequently to mice raised with a condition similar to psoriasis.
After only 28 days of treatment with the new cream, rats showed a decrease of about thirty percent of skin thickness compared to other control animals, and had about fifty percent less immune cells infiltrating the skin, which is important because the abundance of those causes the condition to evolve into scaly-like wounds.
The application of the cream also showed significantly fewer side effects than the currently applied treatments, making it a viable solution to replace the current treatments and even to eventually provide cure, of course, if all of these results can be replicated in humans.