Biologic agents, a protein-based drug derived from living cells, is the newest advancement in the treatment of psoriasis. Biologics have been around for more than 100 years, however in the last decade their use in modern day medicine has been accelerated.
How are biologics used for the treatment of psoriasis?
Biologics are administered by injection or through intravenous (IV) infusion. Biologics work for psoriasis by blocking the action of certain immune cells, such as TNF and T-cells, that play a role in the disease. There is a specific purpose for each biologic. For example, some biologics reduce the number of immune cells in the skin and blood that are overproducing, and in other cases, biologics block the activation of the immune cells.
Unlike systemic medications that affect your entire immune system, biologics target a specific part of the immune system. This means that biologics are less likely to affect other organ systems. Because biologics target the immune system, taking a biologic will increase your risk of infection.
Biologics are most suitable for people with moderate to severe psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. For people with minor psoriasis who haven’t responded well to other treatments or who suffer from bad effects of other drugs, may be recommended by their doctor to try a biologic for their treatment of psoriasis.
Types of Biologics for Psoriasis
There are two types of biologics for the treatment of psoriasis: tumor necrosis factor-alpha blockers and interleukin 12/23.
TNF-alpha is a cytokine of the immune system that causes cells to release other proteins that add to the inflammatory process. In people who have psoriasis, there is an overproduction of TNF-alpha in the skin which causes skin cells to rapidly grow. One type of biologic work by reducing the production of TNF-alpha, which stops the inflammatory cycle of psoriasis.
IL-12 and IL-23 also play a role in inflammation. They promote the accumulation of T-cells which causes an inflammatory reaction in the skin. The other type of biologic works to target IL-12 and IL-23 to stop inflammation.
Advanced Clinical Care has ongoing psoriasis clinical trials that use biologics to treat psoriasis. Learn more about our psoriasis clinical trials or give us a call at 508-755-0201.