I recently returned from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Annual Meeting in San Francisco, where I had an opportunity to collaborate with and learn from many leaders in the field of dermatology. One of the areas I was interested to hear more about was the latest in treatment for psoriasis. This was a popular topic due in part to Novartis recently receiving approval from the FDA for its new treatment called Cosentyx (secukinumab). Secukinumab is the first in a new line of psoriasis drugs called interleukin inhibitors, which block interaction with the IL-17A receptor that triggers the inflammatory response in psoriasis.
Older treatments such as Enbrel, Remicade and Humira block a protein called TNF that signals the body to create inflammation. Stelara (ustekinumab) targets proteins known as IL-12 and IL-23, while secukinumab goes after IL-17A, which only recently has been linked to psoriasis. Similar IL-17 drugs are in development at Eli Lilly & Co. (ixekizumab) and in a partnership between Amgen and AstraZeneca (brodalumab). These IL-17 therapies are expected to be more effective for patients with moderate to severe psoriasis.
Dr. Mark Lebwohl presented summary data on all three IL-17 targeted therapies – secukinumab, ixekizumab, and brodalumab. Studies show a high response rate and improvement in plaque, scalp and nail psoriasis for all of these new class of drugs.
Data on secukinumab showed superior results to ustekinumab in delivering clear skin to subjects with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis over 16 weeks. Secukinumab has previously shown greater efficacy to placebo and to Etanercept. The study is ongoing and 52-week data will be reported at a later date. It will be interesting to see if the results hold but the early results are certainly encouraging.
Dr. Andrew Blauvelt presented additional data on the long-term benefits of secukinumab, showing sustained efficacy to two years with a favorable safety profile.
With approximately 9 million psoriasis sufferers in the US and Canada, it is exciting to see these new treatments coming to market. Like any systemic medication there are potential side effects, but if you are suffering from psoriasis and are interested in further treatment, consult your dermatologist.