Investigating Cellular and Molecular-Based Biomarkers of Disease Progression in Psoriatic Arthritis
Principal Investigator: Jose Scher, M.D.
Co-Investigators: Sergei Koralov, Ph.D. and Wilson Liao, M.D.
Institution: New York University Grossman School of Medicine and University of California, San Francisco
Grant Mechanism: Psoriatic Arthritis Diagnostic Test Grant (Priority Mechanism)
Funding Amount: $350,000
Project Start Date: July 1, 2022
Project End Date: June 30, 2024
Keywords: Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Biomarkers, Immunology
Dr. Scher’s project was combined with Dr. Liao’s initial PsA Diagnostic Test Grant award to support a joint collaboration between the awardees with a similar project focus at a higher dollar amount to support the collaborative project continuation.
The goal of this NPF-funded project is to define why in nearly a third of psoriasis patients, inflammation progresses from skin to joints and to identify biomarkers of disease progression from psoriasis to psoriatic arthritis. This is of the utmost importance because severe joint inflammation and destruction can only be prevented when patients are treated within the first few months of symptom onset. Over the first three years of this grant, we leveraged a multimodal single-cell sequencing platform, pioneered by NY Genome Center in collaboration with Dr. Koralov's team, to compare immune landscape in the blood of patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis as well as in the synovial fluid of patients with joint inflammation. This platform enabled unprecedented insight into differences in immune cells associated with disease progression. In particular, we identified a unique subset of T cells and dendritic cells that appear to be correlated with disease progression and are evaluating the potential to use effector molecules and homing ligands and receptors expressed by these immune cells as biomarkers predictive of disease progression.
How will your project help improve the lives of the 125 million affected by psoriatic disease?
Our research aims to identify patients at risk of progressing to psoriatic arthritis. This is critical as early intervention can prevent debilitating joint inflammation and destruction.
Why is psoriatic disease research important to you personally? What role will this award play in your research efforts or career development?
This is work that is at the core of our collaborative effort. Dr. Scher is the director of Psoriatic Arthritis Center at NYU and treatment of patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis has been his central clinical and research effort for the past 15+ years. For Dr. Koralov, understanding progression of inflammatory disease is at the core of his research goals - his lab focuses on understanding the immune changes that govern the spread of inflammation. The generous support from NPF enables us to perform that critical analysis of patient biospecimens and to do the in vitro assays that evaluate the impact of individual molecular pathways that contribute to the spread of inflammation from skin-restricted phenotypes present in psoriasis to joint inflammation found in psoriatic arthritis.
This grant was made possible by contributions from William “Bill” and Jodi Felton, AbbVie, and Amgen.
Dr. Jose Scher is Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of the Psoriatic Arthritis Center at New York University School of Medicine, New York City, NY. He received his M.D. from Maimónides University, Buenos Aires, Argentina and completed his internal medicine residency and rheumatology fellowship at New York University. His research interests include the immune and environmental features that enhance risk for transition from psoriasis to psoriatic arthritis (PsA), the mechanisms behind microbiome perturbations in psoriatic and rheumatoid disease, and the pharmacomicrobiomics of disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs and immunotherapies in human rheumatoid arthritis and PsA. Dr. Scher’s work is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the National Psoriasis Foundation, and Bloomberg Philanthropies among others.
Dr. Scher is a founding member of the Psoriasis & Psoriatic Arthritis Clinics Multicenter Advancement Network and director of the NYU Advanced Course in Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis (since 2015). He is a past member of the US Food & Drug Administration Arthritis Advisory Committee (2016–2020) and currently serves as vice-chair of the National Psoriasis Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee (2021) and as a standing member of the NIH Arthritis, Connective Tissue and Skin Sciences Study Section (2021).