Psoriasis Treatment Linked to Improvement in Heart Artery Disease
Researchers have found that treating psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease, with biologic drugs that target immune system activity can reduce the early plaque buildup 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, funded by NHLBI, appeared online Feb. 5 in Cardiovascular Research.
“Classically a heart attack is caused by one of five risk factors—diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, family history or smoking,” said Dr. Nehal Mehta, head of NHLBI’s Laboratory of Inflammation and Cardiometabolic Diseases. “Our study presents evidence that there is a sixth factor, inflammation, and that it is critical to both the development and the progression of atherosclerosis to heart attack.”
Now researchers have provided first-in-human evidence that treatment of a known inflammatory condition with biologic therapy, a type of drug that suppresses the immune system, is associated with a reduction in coronary artery disease, in particular of rupture-prone plaque that often leads to a heart attack.