There aren't nearly enough research projects focused on psoriasis, the most common autoimmune disease in the world. There is even less research focused on children with psoriasis.
The Pediatric Dermatology Research Alliance hopes to change that. The alliance, which consists of researchers from throughout North America, already is working to fill gaps in pediatric psoriasis research.
Supported by a National Institutes of Health grant and several patient advocacy groups – including the National Psoriasis Foundation – the alliance held its first conference late last year. The result helped scientists identify where to focus pediatric psoriasis research. It also gave scientists a chance to start collaborating on research projects.
"The room looked like speed dating gone rogue," said Keith Choate, one of the attendees. "You had full professors opposite residents, geneticists talking to inflammatory experts, and people from smaller institutions interacting with leaders from larger ones."
Dr. Kelly Cordoro, a pediatric dermatologist at the University of California, San Francisco, was the co-chair of the psoriasis research group. The group identified several aspects of the disease in need of further research, including:
- Biomarkers (such as a blood test) that can help diagnose or tell more about a person's psoriasis.
- Comorbidities, or conditions that often occur with psoriasis, such as cardiovascular disease.
- Effect on the quality of life, as well as the cost of treating the disease and patient outcomes following treatment.