What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin disorder characterized by severe itching, skin lesions, formation of red and scaly patches and rapid accumulation of dead skin cells in certain body parts, or even the entire body at times. This dermatological condition cannot be attributed to a single causative agent, but a number of causes that work simultaneously at triggering its outburst. This is the reason for Psoriasis to be termed as a ‘Multi-Factor’ Disease. At the level of skin cell functioning, Psoriasis results from the malfunctioning of the immune system. Also known as an autoimmune disease triggered by multiple factors, an abnormal overproduction of skin cells happens when the immune system wrongly responds to normal skin cells as pathogens.
Worldwide Statistics of Psoriasis
There are reported 125 million people around the world who suffer with this autoimmune disease. What makes the situation even more perplexing is that Psoriasis is not just confined to be a skin disorder. Studies have shown plausible links between Psoriasis and Cancer, Regional Enteritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and several Cardiovascular Disorders. So chronic Psoriasis or Psoriasis that is not provided with proper and timely treatment can lead to a number of organ malfunctions. Approximately 30 percent of the patients who develop Psoriasis, also eventually suffer from Psoriatic Arthritis, a painful inflammation of the joints along with the possibility of the eyes, lungs lining, cartilage and tendon getting affected.
Research for Effective Treatment of Psoriasis
Till date, there is no definitive and permanent cure for Psoriasis, but there are several new drugs on trial and a lot of research funding is being done to find an effective method of treatment. Amongst the leading research teams, the one at Rockefeller University is close to discovering a potential cure which involves an experimental treatment centred on human antibodies and prevention of interleukin-23 proteins from binding to receptors, as a result of which the immune system triggers the wrong signal for skin cell multiplication. A lot of hopes are being pinned with this potential curative effort, to once and for all put an end to this dreaded disorder.
Potential Causes and Experimental Treatment of Psoriasis
If you have a family history of Psoriasis, then your chances of developing it increase by almost one third times. This has been sufficient to prove that genetics is one of the prime causes of Psoriasis, the others being stress or anxiety, chronic skin infections, exposure to rapidly fluctuating climate, smoking, alcohol consumption, skin lesions, skin dryness, being grossly overweight and even side-effects or induced reactions of certain drugs. The good news is that patients have reported a positive improvement in their symptoms after they were subjected to the experimental treatment involving human antibody cells as elaborated above. Scientists have taken the cue from this positive development, and are working towards finding a long-term cure for this autoimmune multi-factor disorder that is usually observed to be the aggressive and life-threatening at its juvenile stage. In fact, Can-Fite Biopharma is in the process of developing a novel chemical cure for Psoriasis as well as Rheumatoid Arthritis.
New Ray of Hope for Patients Suffering from Psoriasis
Tough to treat, Psoriasis had been termed as one of the most dreaded autoimmune diseases of all times. Even though there is no sure-shot cure till date, the experimental cure using antibodies has certainly provided a new ray of hope for patients. In a recent experiment that was conducted for Nail Psoriasis, one of the worst and incurable forms of the disorder, there was a 50% improvement observed when they were subjected to PDE4 Inhibitor Apremilast. While the 50% improvement happened over a course of just 16 weeks for Nail Psoriasis Patients, those suffering from the condition on their scalps and plaque also found considerable improvement.
Consulting a Dermatological Expert
Wrong diagnosis is one of the primary causes of the aggravation of the disorder in many patients. During the initial phase when the itching begins, many people mistake this for a fungal infection and fail to ignore the warnings. So if you happen to develop the symptoms that are characteristic to Psoriasis such as red skin, itching, swelling, lesions and accumulation of dead cells, do not waste time and consult a dermatological expert immediately. In addition to topical treatment (creams and ointments), oral medication or antibiotics and the experimental biological treatment using antibodies as described above, there have been efforts to cure Psoriasis with Phototherapy as well. Based on the skin type of the patient, the affected area is exposed to low-intensity UVB lamps that aids in arresting the unprecedented skin cell multiplication. But there are several side effects like burning, itching, nausea and headache associated with phototherapy.