Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. This means that the immune system attacks a person’s own skin cells, leading to inflammation and irritated patches of skin. The key to long-term psoriasis management is finding treatments that address the underlying causes as well as the uncomfortable symptoms. Clinical trials are an important part of discovering new treatments that can improve quality of life with psoriasis.
Psoriasis clinical trials are designed to test out new therapies. Testing is required before treatments are placed on the market to ensure that new therapeutics are both effective and safe. Because this skin disease can be unpredictable, there are a variety of potential treatments that may work best for certain people.
Types of Clinical Trials
People with psoriasis don’t experience all the exact same symptoms. The disease is characterized by skin inflammation (redness) and rapid skin cell turnover, but location and severity can vary. Some psoriasis patches are small with silvery scales. Other patches are more widespread and turn red with thick scales.
Psoriasis can occur on any part of the body without warning, though many people tend to experience symptoms repeatedly in the same location. When searching through clinical trials, you’ll likely find some that are body part-specific.
Examples include calls for volunteers with skin patches on:
Some tests involve biopsies of skin patches. During the study, the samples are compared with samples from all members of the test group to look for any similarities. Other clinical trials specifically study psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis.
Given the many facets of psoriasis, most people require more than one treatment method. Not only do you want relief from itchy, painful skin patches, but you want them to stop coming back. Clinical trials test new ways to treat and prevent psoriasis symptoms.
You’ll likely find a variety of trials researching the effectiveness of:
- topical medications to decrease skin cell turnover and relieve patches
- antibiotics when bacteria worsens symptoms
- systemic treatments (shots)
- light therapy
- nutrition and diet changes
How to Get Involved
If you’re interested, start by searching through trials that are currently recruiting. This disease is often grouped under one umbrella. Still, a particular trial may require a certain level of severity. Check with your doctor to ensure that it’s safe for you to participate. Know all the details of the study so you can better prepare yourself as a volunteer.
You may be asked questions pertaining to:
- how long you’ve had the disease
- how often symptoms appear
- where your symptoms are located
- what are the size and severity of your skin patches
- what treatment measures have worked or failed
Psoriasis clinical trials are essential to testing new treatments. By volunteering to participate, you can help impact the future of the disease. Another benefit is the possibility of symptom relief. (However, keep in mind that some participants are placed in placebo groups to measure the efficacy of the treatment being tested.)