A new drug Ixekizumab has been shown to cure psoriasis in some individuals, the drug works by influencing a pathway involved in immunity. Recently approved it is believed many experiencing the condition may now be permanently relieved of the condition.
Psoriasis is a condition which affects 3% of the global population, involving dry skin and plaques. It is caused by a rare immune response which is initiated by cytokines and chemokines. These molecules co-ordinate the behaviour and movement of cells within the psoriatic plaques and have a key role in the inflammation seen in its development. Cytokines do this by influencing keratinocytes to amplify psoriatic inflammation. Some studies have focused on preventing this molecule from functioning and subsequently shown their importance by relieving the condition. Psoriasis has a genetic component introduced by genetic mutations which have been acquired through lesions of the skin. These acquisitions may then trigger an immune response resulting in psoriasis. Particular treatments which target the cytokine network response have been proven to provide complete skin clearance of psoriasis. This has been shown to significantly improve the quality of life of those with the condition.
Testing a new drug Ixekizumab, a new study showed the drug supports the alleviation of the psoriasis condition. Trials of the drug showed participants with psoriasis had better responses to Ixekizumab in comparison to placebo. This was achieved by using the static physician’s global assessment (sPGA) and other methods to measure the degree of psoriasis. Observing different groups on different treatment plans allowed researchers to properly evaluate the drug. Those receiving a four-week dose had high rates (76.4%-82.6%) of response to Izekizumab suggesting a quick abatement of the condition.
Later trials further demonstrated how different doses affected the condition. Those receiving 80 mg of Ixekizumab every 4 weeks had a better response (73.8%) in comparison to participants receiving the same dose every 12 weeks (39%). Those individuals in the last and third trial received a continuous treatment with the drug and at week 60, 73%-80% had exceptional sPGA scores. The treatment demonstrated a true effectiveness through the 60 week trials, 34% to 37% of participants showed complete resolution of psoriasis plaques at week 12. This was maintained by continued dosage of Ixekizumab every 4 weeks to week 60, where around 50% maintained this resolution. Different rates were observed for those with a favourable sPGA score at week 12, 68.7%-78.3% maintained this score to week 60.
The study used participants in 21 countries, representing a large and diverse population giving further credibility to the findings. Alterations to the immune system were also observed in some participants, the treatment had an affect on the amount of candidal infections due to alterations in the levels of immune molecules and also on the prevalence of cardiovascular conditions. Ixekizumab works by neutralising an immune system pathway which may have other necessary functions and be important in the development of other conditions. These changes were observed and noted during the 60-week trial. “This group of studies shows high and consistent levels of safety and efficacy, however also the great majority of the responses persist for at least 60 weeks.” Said Dr. Kenneth Gordon, professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Freiburg School of Medicine.
Additionally, the treatment of psoriasis may have a knock on effect of relieving many other conditions also known to be highly prevalent in individuals with psoriasis, potentially treating these conditions simultaneously. For example, diabetes, cardiovascular conditions and mental health conditions are far more likely in those with psoriasis, with the possibility there may be some respite for the medical community.
“Based on these findings, it is expected 80 per cent of individuals might have a high response rate to Ixekizumab and about 40 per cent may be completely cleared of psoriasis,” Gordon said. “Ten yeas ago, it was thought complete clearance of this medical condition may be insurmountable. It was far from something which might be tried. Now with this drug, the response levels are higher than ever seen before.”
What may be the innovative results of altering how the immune system works?