March 17, 2012
Treating Psoriasis To Prevent Heart Attacks And Strokes
A clinical study co-led by the Montreal Heart Institute and Innovaderm Research Inc., which was presented today at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, shows that a new treatment for psoriasis could be associated with a significant decrease in vascular inflammation, a major risk factor of cardiovascular disease.
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin and joints that affects up to 3% of the population. This disease is associated with a greater risk of heart attack (infarction) and stroke. The goal of this clinical study was to show that a treatment to reduce skin inflammation in psoriasis patients could be associated with a decrease in vascular inflammation.The study had positive results, as vascular inflammation decreased significantly in patients suffering from psoriasis who were treated with adalimumab, a biological anti-inflammatory compound. The study also showed a 51% decrease in C-reactive protein among patients treated with adalimumab compared to a 2% decrease among patients in the control group. These results are significant, as a high level of C-reactive protein is known to be associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. In relation to the treatment of psoriasis, 70% of patients who received the compound presented with a major decrease in skin lesion severity, compared to 20% of patients in the control group.
According to Dr. Robert Bissonnette, President and Founder of Innovaderm Research Inc. and co-principal author of the study, who will present the findings at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, "This study is a great example of the high-level research being conducted in MontrÃ©al. "He added that this clinical research study suggests that it is possible to assess the impact of psoriasis treatments on the heart without having to resort to long-term studies that require thousands of patients and have higher costs.
"These findings are extremely encouraging for people suffering from psoriasis, as they face a greater risk of cardiovascular disease," explained Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, Director of the Research Centre of the Montreal Heart Institute and co-principal author of the study. He also emphasized the importance of regular medical follow-up for people with psoriasis to prevent cardiovascular events and establish an optimum therapeutic approach.
Imaging as a vascular inflammation measurement tool
Between May 2009 and June 2011, 30 patients suffering from moderate to severe psoriasis and with a history of coronary artery disease or multiple associated risk factors were followed for four months as part of a randomized clinical study. The patients were divided into two groups: the first group was treated with sub-cutaneous injections of adalimumab while the second group received no treatment or a routine treatment (i.e., topical formulation, phototherapy). Each patient's level of vascular inflammation was measured at the start and end of the study with positron emission tomography (PET), a type of medical imaging, to scan the carotid arteries and the ascending aorta.
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