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World Psoriasis Day – 29th Oct 2019

World Psoriasis Day has been held on the 29th October for the last ten years, and is observed in over 50 countries, which indicates how global a problem Psoriasis is.

World Psoriasis Day is sponsored by the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations1 and aims to highlight and bring awareness to the challenges faced by people with Psoriasis. There are four main aims for Psoriasis Associations across the world:

  • Raising Awareness
  • Spreading Information,
  • Improving access to treatment and
  • Giving the Psoriasis Community a voice

Earlier this month Labskin announced that we have built a psoriasis skin model that will change how skin care and cosmetic companies develop and test new products which target the skin condition2. It will allow companies to conduct tests on diseased skin and look at how their products will balance the skin microbiome. The AI (artificial intelligence) test capability on the model will save significant amounts of money and time in bringing products to market.

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a common skin condition, believed to effect 1 in every 20 people. It is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes skin cells to build up too quickly, producing a scaly surface upon the skin surface. Psoriasis affects men and women of all ages regardless of ethnicity in all countries. It can occur at any age, from childhood to middle age. Symptoms range from scaling of the skin, itching and swelling, to bleeding, burning and fatigue.

Psoriasis is most commonly found in areas around the elbows, knees and scalp but can be found in other areas around the body.

There are seven known types of Psoriasis. These are:

  • Plaque
  • Guttate
  • Scalp
  • Inverse
  • Nail
  • Pustular
  • Erythrodermic

Immune System Malfunction

While the causes of psoriasis are not fully understood, it is widely accepted to be connected to an immune system malfunction with T-cells and neutrophils in the body3. T-cells normally travel through the body defending against bad cells and bacteria. With psoriasis, these T-cells attack healthy skin cells in error.

Overactive T-cells also promote increased production of healthy skin cells and neutrophils. These then travel through the layers of skin and cause redness and pustular lesions. This process becomes an ongoing cycle, pushing stem cells to the outermost layer of skin too quickly. This is what causes the skin to build up into thick, scaly patches.

What treatments are currently available?

There are three main treatment types available to psoriasis sufferers. These are topical treatments, light therapy and systemic medications.

Topical treatments include topical corticosteroids, vitamin D analogues, anthralin, topical retinoids, calcineurin inhibitors, salicylic acid, coal tar and moisturisers.

Light Therapy treatment uses various forms of natural and artificial light, either alone or in combination with medications. Forms of light therapy include sunlight, UVB phototherapy, narrow band UVB phototherapy, Goekeman therapy, Psoralen plus UVA (PUVA) and excimer laser.

Severe or resistant psoriasis may require systemic medications to treat and control symptoms. These can be both oral and injected. They include retinoids, methotrexate, cyclosporine and biologics.

The Impact of Psoriasis

A 2016 WHO Global Report4 on psoriasis indicates that more than 100 million people worldwide are impacted. The same report highlights the fact that the number of people who are suffering could be reduced if access to early diagnosis and appropriate treatments were more readily available.

Psoriasis has a propensity to coexist with other serious systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and Crohn’s disease. This increases the likelihood of having a seriously hampered quality of life for Psoriasis sufferers.

There have been numerous studies which show that psychological trauma is associated with psoriasis. It can affect everyday activities and employment due to feelings of embarrassment, lack of self-esteem, anxiety and a prevalence of depression.5

One of the main aims of World Psoriasis Day is to highlight and bring awareness to the challenges faced by people with Psoriasis.

Developing Drugs to treat Psoriasis

Drug development for diseases can take up to 10 years to move from initial research and development to being fully tested and approved for the market. Animal testing for many years has been the “Go-To” method for clinical trials. Psoriasis has faced many difficulties when being studied via animal skin models, the most prevalent being that human psoriasis is very different to any form found in animals. Studying the disease only became possible via progress through immunology and genetic engineering.

The use of animal skin models is now less acceptable, with a major swing in global opinion against animal testing. This shift in opinion has created a gap which must be filled in order to continue studying psoriasis to discover new therapies and treatments.

What has Labskin achieved for Psoriasis Treatments?

The team from Labskin and sister company Rinocloud recently attended the AI Awards 2019 presentations as finalists and announced the completion of an artificially intelligent, virtual psoriasis model. Labskin’s 3D psoriasis skin model is the only artificially intelligent 3D skin model available in the world and we are proud to be part of the global shift to help change and improve Psoriasis treatments across the world.

The Science behind our 3D Psoriasis Skin Model

To create and build our model, Labskin scientists initially recruited 671 anonymous patients. Samples were taken directly from a psoriasis lesion on each patient, with the goal being to create an AI generalised solution for diseased skin. Following the genomic sequencing of the samples the database identified 216 species of microbiota (bacteria, fungi and virus).

When various species had been tested, a reliable psoriasis model was identified and confirmed through a cross-validation process. In total 33 species of microbiota were identified that are critical to the success of the Labskin AI diseased skin model for analysing Psoriasis. Continuing to add further patient data will again increase the model’s accuracy over time.

By making this technology commercially available to cosmetic and skin care companies, as well as partnerships with research institutes and academics, Labskin is confident this will allow for quicker development of products aimed at Psoriasis sufferers and will remove the requirement for animal testing in Psoriasis skincare product development in future.

For further information on our 3D skin models and the Labskin AI technology get in touch with us at info@labskin.co.uk.


References

1. https://ifpa-pso.com/
2. https://www.cosmeticsdesign-europe.com/Article/2019/10/10/Labskin-validates-artificial-intelligence-psoriasis-skin-model-opening-promise-for-cosmetics
3. https://www.psoriasis.org/researchers/science-of-psoriasis/immune-system
4. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/204417/9789241565189_eng.pdf?sequence=1
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29970225