Results of a multicenter clinical trial led by Mount Sinai researchers and published online October 1 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a new, experimental biologic reduced the symptoms of psoriasis by 100% in twice as many patients as compared to a more commonly used treatment alternative. The new biologic, brodalumab, is similar to proteins in the human immune system that are built to recognize and block specific target molecules. Brodalumab was designed to block the function of the immune signaling protein interleukin 17 (IL-17) that dock into specifically shaped proteins, IL-17 receptors, to pass on signals that contribute to abnormal, psoriatic inflammation.
Plaque psoriasis, the most common form, is a noncontagious chronic disease in which the immune system causes skin cells to grow at an accelerated rate. These skin cells pile up, causing painful, scaly patches that can crack and bleed on the scalp, knees, elbows, and lower back. The lifelong disease affects 2% to 3% of the global population and can have a significant negative impact on health-related quality of life. The just-published Phase III clinical studies recorded the degree of reduction in the Psoriasis Area Severity Index or (PASI), which scores psoriatic plaque redness, scaling and thickness of psoriatic skin lesions and the extent of the body involved. Treatment efficacy is often measured by the reduction of PASI from the baseline. After 12 weeks, 44% of patients randomized to receive the greater dosage of brodalumab (210 mg every other week) in one study had achieved PASI 100 (ie, a 100% reduction), compared with 22% of patients treated with ustekinumab (Stelara), a drug currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and widely used for the treatment of psoriasis.
Read more about the new treatment here.