Scientists usually tend toward caution when faced with promising discoveries, but a new crop of biologic drugs in clinical trials is showing unprecedented success in clearing moderate to severe plaque psoriasis—and that is making a lot of people in the field of psoriasis research positively excited.
Amgen, Eli Lilly and Novartis each are in the midst of testing biologics that target a critical molecule in the immune system called IL-17 that has been linked to the skin inflammation of psoriasis. In each case, the drug so far is performing very well. About 80 percent of Phase II clinical trial patients achieved PASI (Psoriasis Area Severity Index) 75 percent, or their psoriasis has cleared by 75 percent in 12 weeks. As many as 60 percent of patients are completely clear in three months.
"That's quite an accomplishment," said Dr. Jerry Bagel, associate clinical professor of dermatology for Columbia University's College of Physicians. "We haven't seen that before. That's a high number of people who are clear. That's pretty good stuff."