Scientists have developed a new drug to treat a disfiguring skin condition which about 2% of the UK population suffers from.
Tests of the drug, known as ISA247, are ongoing on patients with psoriasis. The compound blocks cell signals linked to over-activation of the immune system.
A similar drug, ciclosporin, treats psoriasis effectively but is restricted due to the damage it can cause to kidneys.
Other newer treatments, such as the drug infliximab, appear to work well but are very costly and lack data on their long-term safety and effectiveness.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease which leads to inflammation of the skin and the appearance of itchy or painful red scaly patches.
The causes of the condition are unknown but may involve inherited genes and stress.
Research in the Lancet medical journal noted the extent to which the treatment caused a 75% reduction in the psoriasis area and severity index (PASI 75).
Higher doses of ISA247 led to better recovery.
The researchers, led by Dr Kim Papp, from Probity Medical Research in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, wrote: "ISA247 was safe and effective in the treatment of patients with moderate to severe psoriasis during 24 weeks, with the highest dose providing the best efficacy."
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