Researchers, doctors, and scientists know a lot about what causes psoriasis. They know how to treat it, and they even how to reduce your risk for future flare-ups. Still, there’s much more to discover. As understanding about this common skin condition grows, scientists are producing smarter medicines and more effective treatments. In addition, researchers are trying to better understand why some people develop psoriasis and others don’t.
Keep reading to learn more about what’s on the horizon with psoriasis treatments.
New medicines for psoriasis
New treatments and treatments on the horizon for psoriasis include:
Biologic agents: This type of medicine is derived from natural sources, not chemical ones. Biologic agents are very potent and are still in early stages of use. They alter the way your immune system works by stopping your immune system from sending out inflammation signals. This lowers your risk of symptoms.
“Small-molecule” treatments: A lot of psoriasis treatment plans focus on topical or injected medicines. This new breed of medicines is taken by mouth. They are designed to target specific enzymes inside a cell. These enzymes are responsible for inflammation. By correcting that cell’s overactive response, you’re less likely to experience symptoms of the condition.
Anti-interleukin-17 (IL-17) receptor agents: IL-17 is a protein in your body that activates your immune system. People with psoriasis have 10 to 30 times more IL-17 than people without the condition. Stopping the protein or reducing the level of it in your body may help clear psoriasis. These medicines are designed to target the IL-17 molecules in your immune system and prevent an inflammatory reaction.
New research for psoriasis
These new medical treatments are exciting, but they’re not all that’s happening in the field of psoriasis study. Researchers are also trying to understand what the disease does inside a person’s body. This research is specifically looking at these areas:
Immune response: Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. It occurs because your body’s immune system malfunctions. Your immune system is designed to detect, stop, and defeat invading bacteria and viruses. Instead of that, your immune system begins attacking healthy cells.
Researchers are trying to understand why autoimmune diseases develop. Studies into other autoimmune conditions will help people with psoriasis too. The more that is known about autoimmune diseases, the better treatments and prognosis will be for everyone.
Skin-cell formation: If you have psoriasis, your immune system mistakenly attacks your skin cells. This causes skin cells to be produced very rapidly. Your body has no time to naturally eliminate these cells, so scaly lesions develop on the surface of your skin. Researchers hope that understanding how skin cells form will help them interrupt the process and stop uncontrolled skin-cell formation.
Nervous system: Red, inflamed spots called lesions and white-silver scaly spots called plaques are common in people with psoriasis. These visible symptoms are the most recognizable aspect of this disease. Pain and itching are also very common with psoriasis. Researchers are investigating what causes this pain and itching and what can be done to stop those sensations.
Genes: One of the biggest risk factors for psoriasis is a family history. If one or both of your parents have psoriasis, your risk is significantly higher. Researchers have discovered a number of genes that are involved in passing the disease from one generation to the next.
However, not everyone with a family history of psoriasis will develop it. Researchers are trying to identify what increases a person’s likelihood of developing the disease and what might be done to stop parents from passing on these genes.
Psoriasis complications: People with psoriasis are at a greater risk of developing certain diseases. These include:
Researchers want to understand the relationship between psoriasis and these complications in the hope of preventing them from occurring in people with the disease.
Takeaway: Progress takes time
All of these areas of research hold great promise. Still, progress won’t be accomplished overnight. Researchers and advocacy organizations work every day to secure funding. This money is directed to scientists who can study this disease and find better answers.