New Hope for Psoriasis Patients

A human antibody may help people who are suffering from psoriasis, an autoimmune illness that affects skin.

Many patients showed significant recovery after just a single dose, and by the end of the trial, conducted at Rockefeller University and seven other centers, nearly all the patients showed dramatic, if not complete, improvement in their symptoms, according to a news release from Rockefeller.

“The striking result we achieved using a human antibody that targets the signal interleukin-23 suggests we are on the threshold of doing something very different from our current model of treating psoriasis with immunosuppressive drugs throughout an adult lifetime,” says study author James Krueger, director of the Milstein Medical Research Program, D. Martin Carter Professor in Clinical Investigation and head of the Laboratory of Investigative Dermatology at Rockefeller. “It raises the possibility of working toward long-term remission — in other words, a cure.”

The findings were published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Psoriasis is a debilitating disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly turns on the skin, producing red, itchy, scaly patches. It appears that interleukin-23, a type of immune signaling molecule, initiates a series of interactions that lead to skin inflammation and excessive growth of skin cells.

The antibody used in this latest research, BI 655066, targets interleukin-23 and blocks its action.

Just a single treatment yielded what the team of investigators called “rapid, substantial, and durable clinical improvement in patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis.” On average, according to the release from Rockefeller, patients who received the treatment had a more than 80 percent improvement in the severity and extent of their skin lesions that continued until tracking ended six weeks after treatment.

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