NPF Announces Funding of Multi-Center Clinical Trial Aimed at Reducing Cardiovascular Risk for the Next Phase of the Psoriasis Prevention Initiative

Phase 2 of the project will test a model to prevent cardiovascular disease and mortality in people living with psoriasis, translating guidelines of care to better outcomes

Portland, Ore., September 24, 2021

The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is proud to announce its investment of $1.5 million to continue progress on the Psoriasis Prevention Initiative (PPI). Launched in 2020, the PPI was created to prevent the onset of psoriatic disease, disease relapse and/or related comorbidities.

After awarding one year of funding to three projects during the initial phase of the PPI, one project was selected for phase 2 funding after a competitive renewal process evaluating progress and promising future potential of each of the three projects. The project selected, titled “Prevention of cardiovascular disease and mortality in patients with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis: Translating guidelines of care to better outcomes for patients with psoriatic disease,” will develop and test a new model to improve the health and lifespan of people living with psoriatic disease. With this inclusion to the NPF research portfolio, NPF has now invested close to $30 million in psoriatic disease research grants and fellowships in recent years.

Psoriasis is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) including heart attack, and stroke. In fact, research has shown that the reduced life expectancy seen in individuals with psoriatic disease is due to these factors. [1] Recommendations from NPF, American Academy of Dermatology, and the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology list psoriatic disease as a risk enhancer for CVD. Despite the increased risk of CVD and recommendations from professional societies, people living with psoriatic disease are more likely to have underdiagnosed and undertreated CVD risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. [2]

This project will develop a new approach in which the specialist (dermatologist or rheumatologist) evaluates patients for cardiovascular risk factors, including increased blood pressure, excess weight, or cholesterol, and connects them to a centralized care coordinator. The care coordinator will provide education about diet and exercise and connect the patient to a primary care or telemedicine provider for treatment of risk factors when medically necessary. The model will be tested to determine its impact on reducing cardiovascular risk in people living with psoriatic disease through a multi-center clinical trial.  If successful, implementation of the model and prevention of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, could help to increase quality of life and life expectancy in individuals with psoriatic disease.  This model could also be extrapolated to other comorbidities.

“When the NPF strategic plan was launched two years ago, it was with a goal of making major strides toward a cure and improved health outcomes for our community. The strategic planning task force proposed a major addition to the traditional NPF research mechanisms: Fund a project with collaborators from multiple disciplines and multiple institutions at several times the largest award NPF had ever given and allow the researchers to come to us with the best ideas about what would dramatically change the lives and health of our community,” said Randy Beranek, President and CEO of NPF. “We know that people living with psoriatic disease have a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, yet many go unscreened for this risk and are not taking preventative measures. This innovative project aims to develop care models that have the potential to change the standard of care for the psoriatic disease community.”

The vision for the PPI was to fund a transformational, collaborative project that would include investigators from multiple institutions and disciplines to accelerate the field forward with a team-science approach. The project will be led by Joel M. Gelfand, M.D., MSCE, Professor of Dermatology and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and Co-Chair of the NPF COVID-19 Task Force, serving as lead principal investigator. Other investigators include Alexis Ogdie, M.D., MSCE; Rinad Beidas, Ph.D.; Nehal Mehta, M.D., MSCE; and April Armstrong, M.D., MPH.

The 2022 NPF grants and fellowships application process will begin in fall 2021. To learn more about future opportunities and deadlines, please visit psoriasis.org/available-funding-opportunities/.

Phase 2 of the Psoriasis Prevention Initiative was made possible with significant support provided by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

Unrestricted Research Donations

Significant donations made to NPF research efforts that were not designated to a specific grant were made by: The Florence Petrlik Family Foundation; Donald A. Grilli; Sara Lee Larner; Michael and Carol Laub; Virginia Morris Kincaid Charitable Trust; Walton Family Foundation; Carol A. Yermal.

 

About the National Psoriasis Foundation

Serving the community of people impacted by psoriatic disease for more than 50 years with patient support, advocacy, research, education, and funding, the National Psoriasis Foundation is the leading nonprofit fighting for individuals with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The mission of NPF is to drive efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of more than 8 million individuals in the United States affected by this chronic immune-mediated disease. As part of that effort, NPF created the Patient Navigation Center to offer personalized assistance to everyone with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. In recent years, NPF has funded close to $30 million in research grants and fellowships that help drive discoveries that may lead to more and better treatments and ultimately a cure. Learn more at psoriasis.org

References

1.       Mehta N, Azfar R, Shin D, et al. Patients with Severe Psoriasis are at Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Mortality: Cohort Study Using the General Practice Research Database. Eur Heart J. April 31, 2010. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehp567

2.       Kimball A, Szapary P, Mrowietz U, et al. Underdiagnosis and Undertreatment of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Patients with Moderate to Severe Psoriasis. J Am Acad Dermatol. July 2012. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2011.06.035

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