The United States Food and Drug Administration have approved the marketing of a new drug to battle the most prevalent autoimmune disease in the country,psoriasis. Cosentyx which was manufactured by Novartis aims to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.
Cosentyx (secukinumab) is a fully human monoclonal antibody that inhibits the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin 17A which is administered through a subcutaneous injection. It is specifically designed to bind with interleukin-17A (IL-17A) cytokine which is a naturally occurring cytokine in the body.
According to a study in 2014, IL-17 is one of the most potent and most actively investigated proinflammatory cytokines. It is one of the key inflammatory cytokines during immune responses.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease wherein the cycle of skin cells is altered. It causes the skin cells to replicate and build up rapidly on the surface of the skin causing plaques and scales to form. The skin cells form thick scales that can be itchy, red and painful. According to Mayo Clinic, the goal of treatment of psoriasis is to prevent the cells from building up quickly.
The rationale behind medicines for psoriasis is explained by a study entitled, "Psoriasis: rationale for targeting interleukin-17," and published in the journal PubMed. It shows that many evidences suggest that IL-17A is also important in psoriasis pathogenesis. It induces the production of antimicrobial peptides and pro-inflammatory cytokines that can help maintain the immune responses in the skin. Hence, psoriasis formation is blocked.
According to statistics by National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), 7.5 million Americans and 125 million people worldwide are diagnosed with psoriasis.
In a press announcement by the FDA, Cosentyx's safety and effectiveness were determined through clinical trials involving 2,403 participants with plaque psoriasis. They were divided into two groups wherein one group received the medicine while the other one received placebo. Findings show that those who received the medicine had better response with skin almost cleared off from the scales.
"Plaque psoriasis can cause significant skin irritation and discomfort for patients, so it is important to have a variety of treatment options available to patients," said Dr. Amy Egan, deputy director of the Office of Drug Evaluation III in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
The drug was approved last January 21, 2015 and is expected to hit drug stores not only in the country, but also worldwide.