New Psoriasis Therapy Dramatically Improves Symptoms

New antibody therapy dramatically improves psoriasis symptoms in clinical trial
A sample from one psoriasis patient shows thickening of the
outer layer of skin, known as the epidermis (left). Eight
weeks after treatment, the epidermis has thinned to a normal
level (right). (Credit: Laboratory of Investigative Dermatology
at Rockefeller University/Journal of Allergy
and Clinical Immunology)
Many patients suffering from psoriasis showed significant recovery after just a single dose of an experimental treatment with a human antibody that blocks an immune signaling protein crucial to the disease, researchers report. By the end of the trial, nearly all of the 31 patients to receive treatment saw dramatic, if not complete, improvement in their symptoms. The research was 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. In 2004, the researchers suggested a dominant role for interleukin-23 in the disease, and research since then has supported this hypothesis. It appears that interleukin-23, a type of immune signaling molecule known as a cytokine, kicks off a cascade of interactions that leads to inflammation in the skin and excessive growth of skin cells and dilation of blood vessels.
 
The discovery of interleukin-23's role has led to tests of a number of new antibody-based therapies that target it, but the compound, known as BI 655066, stands out. BI 655066 is a human antibody that targets interleukin-23 and blocks it from binding to the receptors on cells that respond to it. Only a single treatment produced what the team describes as "rapid, substantial, and durable clinical improvement in patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis." On average, 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. Meanwhile, genetic sequencing from skin samples revealed that the antibody's action reduced the expression of many of the cytokines and other molecules that define psoriasis.
 
Based on material originally posted by Rockefeller University.