Top 5 Research Advancements in Psoriasis Biology and Therapy

psoriasis on elbow

The Dermatology Foundation’s investment in psoriasis researchers and projects is an important part of its history. The clinical observation of the 1980’s that psoriasis responded to the immunosuppression of cyclosporine generated a groundbreaking paradigm shift in our understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease. Psoriasis as a T-cell mediated immunologic disease became a model from which new clinical and therapeutic discoveries evolved. The continued progress introduced by DF-funded investigators was tremendous:

  1. Kevin Cooper, M.D., received DF funding in 1986 that contributed to the discovery and development of alefacept, an LFA-3 inhibitor of T-cells. It became the first biologic therapy approved for psoriasis in 2003.
  2. Alice Gottlieb, M.D., Ph.D., studied lymphokine gene expression and sensitivity to cyclosporin in psoriasis with her 1989 DF funding and became a leading investigative dermatologist to develop and test novel immunotherapies in clinical trials that correlated clinical responses with immunologic endpoints. This investigative approach accelerated a new pipeline of biologic therapies for psoriasis and DF-funded investigators contributed to its development.
  3. Wilson J. Liao, M.D., received DF funding in 2007 and studied gene expression profiling of clinical responses to etanercept, the first TNF-alpha inhibitor biologic therapy approved for psoriasis.
  4. Johann E. Gudjonsson, M.D., Ph.D., received DF funding in 2008 and studied the biological effects of genetic variation in IL-12B and IL-23R genes in psoriasis. This contributed to the approval of the first anti-IL-23 biologic therapy, ustekinumab, for psoriasis in 2009.
  5. Additionally, the 2008 DF funding of Allen T. Bruce M.D. Ph.D., provided support for his study of the phenotype and function of IL-17-secreting T-cells in psoriasis. IL-17 targeting led to the approval of the third generation of biologic therapies for psoriasis that has included secukinumab (2015), ixekizumab (2016), and brodalumab (2017).

Our understanding of psoriasis biology has not only translated into the groundbreaking therapeutic advances described above. In 2003, Joel Gelfand M.D., MSCE, received DF funding to study the incidence of cancer in psoriasis. His work was the first to describe the association of psoriasis with other co-morbidities and created a new paradigm of psoriasis as a systemic disease. This model was further corroborated when April W. Armstrong, M.D., MPH, received DF funding in 2009 and demonstrated the association of coronary artery disease with psoriasis.

It is clear that the DF has been successful in growing a generation of dermatologists who have served as leaders in clinical investigation, partners with industry, and responsible for driving innovation to advance psoriasis care.


For more information:

Contact the Dermatology Foundation office at 847-328-2256 to discuss partnering with the DF to support the advancement of dermatology.

Categories: News / Press Releases

Tags: Psoriasis

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