Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition affecting more than one million people in the UK. It can appear anywhere on the body at any age, causing both physical and psychological trauma, and is not always easily treated.

In fact, a treatment that works for one person does not necessarily work for another: and that's a big problem. It means that some patients have to live with the condition — and the physical and psychological distress it causes — for a long time before finding effective relief.

Personalised

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) have set out treatment pathways for psoriasis which are useful but rigid, amounting to treatment on a 'trial and error' basis.

However, PSORT — a consortium of dermatologists, pharma companies and psoriasis patients — is working to cut down on the long and arduous treatment process that some patients with the condition currently undergo. In 2013, PSORT was given £5 million by the UK Medical Research Council and an additional £2 million from industry partners to conduct research into personalised treatments for psoriasis that will directly benefit people with the condition.

“PSORT's aim is to find the right treatment, first time, for every patient,” says Carla Renton, Information and Communications Manager at The Psoriasis Association. “To do that, it is developing tests to understand the kind of psoriasis each individual has. This means treatments that won't work can be immediately ruled out so that a focus can be placed on the ones that will.”

While the research is only just beginning and any findings are some way in the future, targeted medicine would offer obvious cost savings for the NHS, says Renton. “And, from a patient perspective, it would have a positive impact on their mental wellbeing and quality of life.”

www.psoriasis-association.org.uk