LEO Foundation | Cardiovascular risk in psoriasis – meeting a profound clinical need
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Cardiovascular risk in psoriasis – meeting a profound clinical need

Psoriasis patients have an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. A new study aims to identify the molecular mechanisms of the association between psoriasis and cardiovascular diseases and develop new therapies aimed at both diseases.

Ballerup, Denmark (22 September, 2016) – Cardiovascular diseases (CVD), such as myocardial infarction and stroke, are leading causes of death globally. Independent of traditional risk factors, however, psoriasis patients run an increased risk of CVD, adding considerably to morbidity and mortality for this large patient group.

“Inflammation has been proposed as a part of the explanation for the association between psoriasis and CVD. However, when we look at the underlying pathophysiology and molecular drivers of this connection, they are unclear. It is also unresolved whether treatment responses for psoriasis alter the course of CVD. To us, this suggests that the connection with inflammation might be more complex than currently appreciated,” says Joel Dudley, Director of Biomedical informatics at Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai in New York.

Together with Peter Riis Hansen, Department of Cardiology, Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Dudley will lead a team focused on developing a much needed understanding between the molecular mechanisms of psoriasis and the increase in CVD comorbidity. Understanding these complex interactions between skin and cardiovascular health will lead to insights for future preventive treatments and improved prognosis.

The team will employ an array of modern high throughput technologies to bring together information about genetics, immunology, local gene expression, microbiomes, and more standard clinical measures to develop an unprecedented map of factors impacting cardiovascular health in psoriatic patients.

“We will apply sophisticated bioinformatics and network biology techniques to integrate the data and develop a disease network model that will enable both discovery and testing of novel hypotheses concerning biomarkers and pathogenic mechanisms. We believe that this disease network model will serve as a powerful and unprecedented resource for the dermatology, cardiology, and immunology research communities,” says Peter Riis Hansen.

More specifically, the model may facilitate the re-interpretation of data from previous studies and clinical trials, be queried by scientific and clinical investigators to evaluate novel clinical and molecular hypotheses, and inform new understanding of fundamental molecular mechanisms underlying the interplay between skin biology, immune function, and the immune-metabolic-cardiovascular axis.

The resulting disease network model may also uncover molecular mechanisms contributing to increased CVD risk in other immune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, atopic dermatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

“We believe that the data generation activities alone would provide tremendous value to the research community, and that developments in data analysis and bioinformatics has the potential to increase exponentially our understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying CVD risk in inflammatory skin disease,” says Peter Riis Hansen.

The LEO Foundation has supported the study with a grant of 13.1 MDKK.

“The project has potential to create an interesting resource for the research communities in dermatology, cardiology, and immunology, and we are delighted to support it,” says Lars Olsen, Chairman of the LEO Foundation.

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Further information:

Joel Dudley, PhD, Director of Biomedical informatics, Department of Genetics and Genomics Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA. E-mail: joel.dudley@mssm.edu

Peter Riis Hansen, MD, DMSc, PhD, Consultant (invasive cardiology), Associate Professor, Department of Cardiology, Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. E-mail: peter.riis.hansen@regionh.dk