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Study links psoriasis treatment and improvement in heart artery disease.

Researchers have found that treating psoriasis with biologic drugs that target immune system activity can reduce the early plaque build-up that clogs arteries, restricts blood flow, and leads to heart attacks and stroke. The findings highlight how immunotherapies that treat inflammatory conditions might play a role in the reduction of cardiovascular disease risks. The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Researchers provided first in-human evidence that treatment of a known inflammatory condition with biologic therapy, a type of drug that suppresses the immune system, was associated with a reduction in coronary artery disease, in particular of rupture prone plaque which often leads to a heart attack.

Psoriasis, a common skin disease affecting 3-5 percent of the U.S. population, is associated with heightened systemic inflammation, which elevates risk of blood vessel disease and diabetes. Inflammation occurs when the body's defensive mechanism kicks in to ward off infection or disease, but this mechanism can turn against itself when triggered, for instance, by excess low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) that seep into the lining of the arteries.

The resulting inflammatory response can cause blood clots, which block arteries and can lead to heart attack and stroke. Inflammation puts 20-30 percent of the U.S. population at risk for these kinds of events. People with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and psoriasis have a much higher rate of cardiovascular events.

Those high rates make worse already troubling numbers: more than 15 million Americans, and many more worldwide, suffer from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Heart attack occurs in 750,000 individuals every year in the U.S.; globally, more than seven million people had heart attacks in 2015.

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Title Annotation:Immunotherapies
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Date:Mar 1, 2019
Words:289
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