A Guy’s and St Thomas’ consultant has been awarded funding to develop a way of tailoring psoriasis treatment to individual patients.
Dr Satveer Mahil, a consultant dermatologist at the St John’s Institute of Dermatology, will use her MRC Clinical Academic Research Partnership (CARP) award to develop a model to predict which individuals with psoriasis will respond to specific treatments.
Psoriasis is a common, debilitating skin disease and affected individuals develop red, scaly patches of skin that can be itchy and painful. It affects 2-4% of people worldwide and impacts patients’ quality of life and ability to work.
Treatments for the condition include biologics – drugs that target molecules involved in disease. However, these treatments only work in some patients, and at the moment there is no way to predict which patient would benefit. Patients may therefore cycle through several biologic drugs before finding the treatment that works for them.
Dr Mahil’s CARP award will allow her to develop a model that uses information that is unique to the patient, including their DNA, to predict the best biologic treatment for them. She will then test this model using existing large-scale psoriasis databases.
Dr Mahil said: “I’m incredibly grateful to the MRC for this award and for the opportunity to work with my research partners Professor Jonathan Barker and Professor Richard Emsley at King’s College London on this project. Our research aims to reduce the impact of psoriasis on patients’ quality of life, by identifying the best biologic treatment for each individual. At the moment clinicians use a more trial and error approach when prescribing medications, because we don’t know which agent will work best for each individual. We are very excited to have this opportunity to move a step closer towards personalising treatments in psoriasis.”
The MRC Clinical Academic Research Partnership awards provide support for NHS consultants to increase their research skills and experience. As well as funding for their projects, the awards provide the opportunity to partner with researchers from universities, such as King’s College London, to take forward their research.