Potential New Psoriasis Treatment
A team at Rockefeller University report on a potential new psoriasis treatment that may eventually lead to a cure. This could be great news for the estimated 125 million people around the world who suffer with this autoimmune disease.
Psoriasis is a chronic, noncontagious disease that is typically characterized by patches of thick red skin and white-silvery areas of dead skin cells. These patches are usually located on the face, scalp, lower back, elbows, knees, palms, and soles of the feet, but they also can affect the nails and mouth.
Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis, a type of inflammatory arthritis. Individuals with psoriatic arthritis experience inflammation of the skin and joints, although it also can affect the cartilage, eyes, lung lining, and tendons.
New potential psoriasis treatment
The new experimental treatment involved a human antibody (BI 655066) that stops the activity of an immune signaling protein called interleukin-23 from binding to the receptors on cells that respond to it. This protein plays a crucial role in the disease.
In the study, nearly every one of the 31 individuals who were treated with just one dose of the antibody experienced significant to complete improvement of their symptoms. Specifically, the patients on average had more than an 80 percent improvement in the extent and severity of their lesions. This benefit continued during the six-month follow-up period.
In addition, when the researchers evaluated the patients’ skin samples, they saw that BI 655066 also reduced the expression of various molecules that are intimately involved in psoriasis. Overall, the authors noted that the new potential treatment provided a “rapid, substantial and durable clinical improvement in patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis.”
Current treatments for psoriasis include light therapy, topical creams (e.g., salicylic acid, steroid-based, calcipotriene, coal-tar, topical retinoids), oral medications, (e.g., cyclosporine, methotrexate, retinoids), and biologics, which help control the immune system (e.g., adalimumab, etanercept, ustekinumab). The type of therapy chosen depends on the type of psoriasis, its severity, and the part of the body affected.
What you can do
Future clinical trials are necessary to further define the effectiveness of this potential new treatment for psoriasis. Currently such a trial is underway and it is accepting individuals with moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis.
Krueger JG et al. Anti-IL-23A mAb BI 655066 for treatment of moderate-to-severe psoriasis: safety, efficacy, pharmacokinetics, and biomarker results of a single-rising-dose, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2015; DOI:10.1016/j.jaci.2015.01.018
National Psoriasis Foundation