Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation throughout the body. Current and future research is looking at new treatments, different triggers, and how the gut relates to the condition.
Psoriasis affects about 7.5 million adults in the United States. People with the condition typically develop painful, itchy areas of skin. Psoriatic disease can also affect other areas of the body, including the joints, eyes, and other organs and tissue.
Experts have learned a lot about psoriasis over the past several decades, but they still have a lot to learn and investigate.
This article reviews some of the current research as well as ways a person with psoriasis can get involved in current and upcoming studies.
Experts still do not know all the underlying mechanics of how psoriasis develops. One area of interest is how the gut microbiome relates to psoriasis.
The gut microbiome is a diverse collection of various bacteria and other microorganisms living in a person’s gastrointestinal tract.
In a 2020 systematic review, researchers noted that the gut microbiome may help guide future treatment and preventive care for psoriasis. In their study, they found that abnormal changes to the microbiome, such as having an abnormal colonization by C. albicans and S. aureus, were pathogenic factors for psoriasis.
However, they also note that due to a lack of standardizations between studies, it is impossible at this time to identify patterns and make broad generalizations about what changes contribute to psoriasis. Still, they believe future studies on the gut microbiome and interventions, such as probiotics, may hold the key to preventing and treating psoriasis.
- cytokines and receptors
- cell signaling
- proteins with other different functions
- transcription factors
- noncoding RNAs
- antimicrobial peptides
The researchers note that several of these factors likely work together to alter how keratinocytes work, linking keratinocytes with psoriasis. They also state that while understanding has come a long way, there is still a lot about these factors’ functioning that remains unknown.
Nonetheless, researchers are hopeful that understanding how the various factors work could lead to effective treatments for psoriasis that target keratinocytes.
Biologics are a type of medication that uses components from human, animal, or microorganisms. Several biologics are currently available for psoriasis, but additional research and understanding is needed.
According to a 2020 study, several questions remain about the use of biologics in psoriasis treatment. Some considerations include:
- speed of onset
- long-term effectiveness
- overall safety
- effects on comorbid conditions
The researchers note that once there are better answers to these questions, it could lead to better satisfaction among users, higher rates of people sticking with treatment, and minimizing the effect of psoriasis on those living with it.
Clinical trials allow researchers to explore the safety and effectiveness of new treatments for psoriasis. They are multistep processes involving larger groups of people in each new trial.
Participating in a clinical trial means a person may get exposure to a new medication or therapy to help with psoriasis. Not everyone qualifies for each trial, so talking with a doctor may help a person determine if they can join a new study.
Several clinical trials occur each year looking at new or different treatments for psoriasis. The National Psoriasis Foundation offers resources to help people find local clinical trials. For example, a study on phototherapy is currently recruiting people with plaque or guttate psoriasis.
A person can also explore clinical trial options at ClinicalTrials.gov. Their database includes ongoing and upcoming studies on psoriasis and a variety of other conditions.
In some cases, a doctor may be able to help a person with psoriasis connect with a current or upcoming clinical trial. They can often provide information about whether or not they believe the person they’re treating will be a good fit for a trial.
Researchers are looking into the underlying mechanics of psoriasis as well as current and potential future treatments for the disease. The more researchers understand about underlying mechanics of the disease, the better they can recommend new treatment options.
Currently, researchers are interested in understanding more about biologics, how keratinocytes relate to psoriasis, and how the gut microbiome affects psoriasis.
Clinical studies frequently recruit people living with specific diseases, so a person with psoriasis who is interested in taking part can search via ClinicalTrials.gov or speak with a doctor about local studies.