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Psoriasis Research

Psoriasis Research

Vast Array of New Psoriasis Therapies on the Horizon

More than 70 potential psoriasis treatments are currently in the research pipeline, reports Psoriasis Cure Now, a patient advocacy group. One of the most exciting is CNTO 1275 (ustekinumab), the latest drug in a class known as biologics; results of a clinical trial indicated that more than two-thirds of patients receiving the drug achieved a 75 percent or greater improvement in symptoms after 12 weeks with no serious side effects.

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Those who sustained their improvements until week 40 were randomized to receive either the drug or a placebo for 12 more weeks. At the one-year mark about 90 percent of these patients maintained their improvement. These findings were presented at a recent meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology. (Note: Out of the two-thirds who responded at the 12-week point, those who maintained their 75% improvement at week 40 were randomized to treatment or placebo; at week 52 about 90% of the drug group maintained at least 75% improvement.)

CNTO 1275 works in a different way from the class of biologics currently on the market, which is why it's considered innovative. The drug is given by injection every three months, so it doesn't interfere with patients' daily lives. "Psoriasis patients are looking for treatments that work, that are safe long-term and easy to use," says Michael Paranzino, president of Psoriasis Cure Now. "CNTO 1275 is an exciting breakthrough because it offers simple dosing, impressive effectiveness, and a strong short-term safety profile. But most psoriasis patients live with the disease for decades, so it remains to be seen if this new treatment can sustain its safety record and effectiveness for the long-haul."

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New Hope for Kids with Psoriasis

Children with psoriasis face special challenges. For one, they risk being teased about their disease, which can lead to depression and social isolation. Treatment options for children have been limited, too, because of potentially harmful side effects.

Now, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine offers new hope: The 48-week trial showed that etanercept (Enbrel)—an injected medication approved by the FDA for use in adults—is safe and effective for children as well.

New Chemicals Heal Psoriasis

New synthetic versions of naturally-occurring lipids called ceramides may be useful for treating skin diseases, including psoriasis; ceramides are found in the outermost layer of human skin and play a role in how skin cells grow and differentiate. Scientists at Chungnam National University in Korea developed three pseudoceramides and found that they had a potent effect on skin cell differentiation. They concluded that the substances might therefore be used to treat skin diseases, like psoriasis, that arise from abnormal skin-cell growth.

Newly-Discovered Immune Cell Found in Psoriasis Lesions

The skin lesions of people with psoriasis are loaded with a recently-discovered immune cell known as Th17, according to a new study done at Rockefeller University. Researchers compared the skin and blood of people with and without psoriasis and found that, while they had comparable levels of Th17 in their blood, those with the disease had as much as three times the number of the cells in their skin as those with normal skin. The discovery of Th17 in psoriasis skin lesions is promising because it provides a new focus for drug research.

Physician-developed and -monitored.
Original Date of Publication: 09 Jun 2010
Reviewed by: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 07 Jun 2010

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This page last modified: 21 Jun 2010

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