Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Science Targets Cause of Psoriasis Before It Starts

30.07.2004


For the estimated six to seven million Americans with psoriasis, the warm-weather months of summer might be the most challenging. Instead of being able to cover up their condition with sweaters or pants, psoriasis patients – forced to keep cool by wearing short-sleeved shirts and shorts – find themselves revealing the raised, thickened patches of red skin and silvery-white scales that they try so desperately to hide. Now, new treatment advances offer patients more hope in finding a life-long solution to this common skin disease.



Speaking at ACADEMY ’04, the American Academy of Dermatology’s summer scientific session in New York, dermatologist Abby S. Van Voorhees, M.D., an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, discussed the gamut of new and existing treatment options available to psoriasis patients.

“Patients with psoriasis really suffer from both the physical and emotional effects of the disease,” said Dr. Van Voorhees. “They report that their disease has a negative impact on their work, finances, family and social life, and overall quality of life. While not a life-threatening disease, psoriasis is a constant source of stress for patients because there is no cure.”


Patient Profile

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease that is often genetic in origin, with approximately one-third of patients aware of other family members who also have this inherited condition. Most often, psoriasis occurs for the first time in young adults – in people in their 20s or 30s – and lasts throughout their lifetime.

While the condition varies in severity from person to person, the inflamed areas of skin can persist for many years or flare up due to an illness such as strep throat or emotional stress resulting from work or family pressures. Either way, the search for an effective, long-lasting treatment is a top priority for psoriasis patients.

Systemic Therapy

For patients with moderate to severe psoriasis, systemic therapies are a mainstay of treatment. One group of systemic therapies consists of older, conventional therapies, such as methotrexate, acetretin and cyclosporine. While these therapies are effective treatments in controlling psoriasis, their use has been limited by potential and often serious side effects such as liver and kidney damage, the suppression of bone marrow, an increase in triglyceride levels or hypertension.

“In specific subtypes of psoriasis or in combination with other therapies, these systemic medications can be convenient and highly beneficial for patients,” explained Dr. Van Voorhees. “However, it’s important to note that they can cause serious side effects that limit their long-term use in some patients and can cause negative interactions with other medications.”

The second group of systemic therapies is a new class of treatments called biologics, which work by blocking the activation of psoriasis. Derived from living sources such as plants, animals or microorganisms, biologic agents were developed with a greater understanding of the mechanism that causes psoriasis. Research has shown that the activation of T-cells, a type of white blood cell, is the key immune system trigger in the development of psoriasis. Once activated, these cells release cytokines – the chemicals used by the immune system to communicate messages. In psoriasis patients, these cytokines tell skin cells to reproduce and mature at an accelerated rate, thereby setting off other reactions that lead to psoriatic lesions forming on the skin. Biologic therapies attempt to block this initial T-cell activation.

The first biologic to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of psoriasis is alefacept. Administered as 12 weekly injections in a physician’s office, alefacept can lead to remissions of up to seven months when successful. This biologic works by directly reducing the number of activated T-cells in the skin.

Efalizumab, the second biologic approved by the FDA for the treatment of psoriasis, acts by preventing the migration of those activated T-cells into the skin from the lymph nodes. Injected into the skin by patients at home, efalizumab is taken regularly on a weekly basis. Studies show that over a period of three-to-six months, this biologic controls psoriasis in a large percentage of patients.

Etanercept, approved by the FDA for both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, is a biologic that blocks TNF (tumor necrosis factor-alpha), an important cytokine. This treatment can be especially helpful in those who have both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis which can affect up to 30 percent of patients. Patients also administer the injections at home once or twice a week on a regular basis. After six months of treatment, the majority of patients experience significant improvement in their condition.

In addition, there are two other biologics currently undergoing clinical trials that may dramatically improve psoriasis – infliximab and adalimumab. Both of these agents act as TNF inhibitors, and dermatologists are hopeful that they also may provide patients with substantial benefits.

“Studies have demonstrated that the FDA-approved and emerging biologics are effective with minimal side effects,” said Dr. Van Voorhees. “These medications are revolutionizing how we treat psoriasis and giving hope to millions of patients battling this chronic disease.”

Light Therapy

Ultraviolet (UV) light treatments, both UVB phototherapy and PUVA (Psoralen + Ultraviolet Light A) photochemotherapy, have been used for many years in the treatment of psoriasis and can be particularly attractive to patients who want to avoid systemic medications. Patients usually receive light treatments several times each week over a period of about two-to-three months. When successful, psoriasis can be brought under control for periods of up to six months at a time. However, Dr. Van Voorhees explained that these therapies may be inaccessible for many patients and can lead to sunburns and serious long-term side effects of chronic exposure to ultraviolet light such as premature aging and skin cancer.

Recently, studies have shown that the excimer laser can be an effective treatment option for psoriasis patients who have a small amount of psoriasis. One of the main benefits of the excimer laser is that it delivers high-intensity ultraviolet radiation to localized areas of the skin affected by psoriasis rather than the entire skin surface. Treatments with the excimer laser are generally quick, safe and effective, making it an appealing new therapy for patients.

“The array of therapies available today to treat psoriasis provides patients with more options than ever to improve their quality of life,” said Dr. Van Voorhees. “Understanding who is the best candidate for each of these therapies allows dermatologists to continue to maximize results and minimize risks for patients.”

Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 14,000 dermatologists worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the AAD at 1-888-462-DERM (3376).

| newswise
Further information:
http://www.aad.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes
14.08.2017 | University of British Columbia

nachricht New type of blood cells work as indicators of autoimmunity
14.08.2017 | Instituto de Medicina Molecular

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>