07 April 2022
The 2022 American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) annual meeting was an exciting moment for the dermatology community, gathering in Boston for the first time after two years of virtual meetings. More than 15 000 people, including experts in dermatology, residents, patient representatives, and representatives from the private sector, participated in the 5-day meeting filled with cutting-edge sessions, and frequent interactions.
Ample space was dedicated to the latest research in psoriatic disease. The sessions, chaired and led by experts in the field, covered advances in basic research, upcoming treatments, promising clinical trials, state-of-the-art management routines for people living with psoriatic disease that are difficult to treat, and new discoveries on comorbidities.
Speakers at the AAD meeting were excited to illustrate the results of the clinical trials for new medications for psoriatic disease, which are targeting different pathways causing the disease and will be available in a variety of formulations. Clinical trials are ongoing for new injectable antibodies, oral medications, and topical treatments. New molecules are now tested for the treatment of generalized pustular psoriasis: experts at the AAD meeting illustrated the mechanism of action of the drugs and the results of the first studies in this underserved patient population.
Surveys have shown that psoriatic disease affects women’s quality of life to a greater extent than men, but little is known about the impact of women’s physiology on the disease course during different phases of life. Although the mechanism is still largely unknown, psoriatic disease is affected by hormones: in many women, the disease worsens during the menstrual period and during menopause, it improves during pregnancy but worsens again in the post-partum phase. In women of childbearing age, experts advised physicians and patients to start a conversation on pregnancy planning early on, as it is important to be aware of the effects of pregnancy on psoriatic disease, the effects of psoriatic disease on pregnancy outcomes, and the effects of treatments on the fetus.
Researchers are uncovering new associations between psoriatic disease and other conditions, and better understanding the reason why common comorbidities are associated with psoriatic disease. Recent data shows that obesity causes psoriatic disease, that inflammatory bowel disease (such as Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis) share genes and cytokines with psoriatic disease, and that new conditions are now recognized as comorbidities (liver and kidney disease, obstructive sleep apnea, alopecia, and vitiligo). The link between psoriatic disease and cardiovascular disease has been known for years, but observational studies are coming up noting a reduction of biomarkers for cardiovascular disease in people with psoriatic disease treated with biologic drugs. Long-term studies in the field are still missing, but these observational studies are important for our community to emphasize the need of treating psoriatic disease well to reduce the risk of developing life-threatening conditions such as cardiovascular disease.
As the biological mechanisms behind psoriatic disease unfold, scientists start thinking about ways to treat the disease once and for all. The first attempts to wipe out those cells responsible for disease recurrence have not been successful so far, but the path towards new discoveries is sprinkled with many failures. Nevertheless, it is a path worth taking, and it is exciting to see scientists daring to start the long journey towards a cure for psoriatic disease.