Patients suffering from an irritating skin condition have been given new hope thanks to scientists on Wearside.
Researchers are hoping to develop a cream to treat psoriasis
A team at Sunderland University has discovered that gossypol, a substance extracted from the cotton plant can be used to soothe psoriasis.
The find could improve treatment for the UK's one million sufferers.
The study was performed by Dr Kalliopi Dodou, working as a PhD student in the Sunderland Pharmacy School under the supervision of Prof Paul Groundwater.
Gossypol is a natural toxin and is thought to protect the cotton plant from insect damage.
In the past it has been investigated as a male contraceptive but no product was ever marketed.
The British Pharmaceutical Conference in Manchester will hear on Tuesday, that gossypol helps to halt the spread of the condition and reduce inflammation.
Psoriasis is a genetic condition which, when triggered by certain factors such as injury or infection, leads to an over-production of skin cells.
These are called keratinocytes and cause a thickening of the skin, resulting in the raised red, scaly patches on the surface.