Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes skin cells to multiply faster than normal resulting in raised, red patches covered by silvery scales. It occurs most commonly on the scalp, knees, and elbows but can appear anywhere on the body including the face, genitals, nails, and other places. In moderate to severe cases, it carries an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and premature death, a finding established by Gelfand in a 2006 landmark study. The National Psoriasis Foundation estimates psoriasis affects about 7.5 million Americans.
Ustekinumab, sold under the name Stelara, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and Crohn's Disease. Researchers wanted to know if the benefits of the drug go beyond clearing the skin.
Type - Inflammation - Psoriasis - Atherosclerosis - Type
"The type of inflammation we see in psoriasis is similar to what we see in atherosclerosis -- a type of heart disease that involves the build-up of fats, cholesterol, and inflammatory cells in the artery walls," Gelfand said. "Since ustekinumab blocks the specific pathways involved in in both skin and cardiovascular inflammation, we wanted to test whether it can improve aortic vascular inflammation."
Psoriasis patients were randomly divided into two groups, with 21 patients in the placebo group and 22 patients receiving the treatment. The primary outcome was aortic inflammation, as measured by 18-FDG-PET/CT scans -- an imaging technique that reveals inflammation in the aorta. The imaging was performed before treatment and at 12 weeks. The treatment group saw a 6.6 percent decrease in aortic inflammation, while the placebo group saw a 12...
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