Doing more in psoriasis starts with listening and learning | Takeda Stories

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Doing more in psoriasis starts with listening and learning

October 11, 2023

Takeda does not have any product approved for the treatment of psoriasis at the time of publication. This article includes real-life patient experiences. Individual experiences may vary. This information is available to the general public for informational purposes only; it should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health condition or disease. It is not intended to substitute for consultation with a health care provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for further advice.

Frank Poirier has lived with psoriasis for almost half of his life. At 21, he noticed a thumbnail-sized flaky patch of skin on his knee, much like a scab, that kept getting bigger. He never anticipated that a single patch would lead to a lengthy diagnosis and a journey of learning to manage his condition. Though psoriasis has presented Frank with significant challenges, he’s determined to live life on his terms.

“Psoriasis is a huge part of my life, but I don’t let it be my life,” said Frank.

At its worst, Frank spent two years cycling through medication adjustments and hospitalizations to address a series of severe infections that had set into thick, scaly, raised patches, covering both his legs from thigh to shin.

Frank Poirier

“At one point my legs were so swollen and painful,” said Frank, “I didn’t want to get out of bed, but I knew I needed to get moving.”

Over the next 72 hours with the help of a nurse, Frank paced the hallways and managed to reduce the circumference of each leg by 7 ½ inches. “I couldn’t stay in one place, in bed for hours, I couldn’t do that. I’m a doer.”

Frank, now 36, is a father, husband, military veteran, and community volunteer. He loves to hike, bike, and spend hours swimming in the ocean with his daughter. He’s unwilling to let his condition dictate his life. “I spent three years in and out of hospitals, 8-14 days at a time. Prime years of my late 20s into 30s. Yeah, I have a health issue, but you can’t let it control you.”

Warren Winkelman, M.D., Ph.D., who leads our Global Medical Affairs team for Dermatology, knows the tremendous toll psoriasis can take on patients.

“As a dermatologist,” he said, “I’ve seen how challenging psoriasis can be for people living with the disease. Whether it’s the physical or emotional burden, psoriasis is complex. There’s so much still to learn from patients’ experiences and work to be done to address their unmet needs. It’s why I came to Takeda – to be a part of advancing innovation and research for patients.”

Finding the right psoriasis therapy regimen can be a process for people living with the condition. Topical therapies, like ointments and creams, are commonly used, frequently in combination with phototherapy, systemic, or biologic treatments.1 Although many medical treatments exist, studies report approximately half of patients are dissatisfied with their psoriasis treatment and despite the options, many people remain untreated or undertreated.2

As our company expands our work in immune-mediated inflammatory diseases into psoriasis, Andy Plump, M.D., Ph.D., who leads Research and Development, says we are approaching the opportunity with a desire to listen and learn.

“It’s patients like Frank who inspire us to challenge limits, embrace risks, and enter new disease areas like psoriasis, even when others have come before us,” he said. “We’re starting by building important relationships and growing the essential knowledge we need to inform how we apply our scientific expertise. This patient-centered approach to innovation has driven our evolution and progress throughout the company’s history.”

In December 2022, our company started exploring potential therapeutic approaches to help people with diseases that cause inflammation in their body. We began looking at an enzyme inside cells called tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2). Early research suggested that when TYK2 is blocked or inhibited, it may help to reduce the inflammation associated with diseases like psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.3

“We are encouraged by what the science is showing about the potential therapeutic use of TYK2 inhibition in psoriasis,” said Warren. “With more learning, continued research in this area and input from the vibrant psoriasis community, we hope to make a meaningful difference for patients. We’re ‘doers’, just like Frank.”

Frank also subscribes to a “listen and learn” approach. He shares that he learned much of what he knows about psoriasis by talking about it with others.

“Looking back to my psoriasis diagnosis, I knew very little about the disease. I would have loved to have started out with the knowledge I have today. Knowledge is power.”

  1. Elmets CA, Korman NJ, Prater EF, Wong EB, Rupani RN, et al. Joint AAD-NPF Guidelines of care for the management and treatment of psoriasis with topical therapy and alternative medicine modalities for psoriasis severity measures. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2021 Feb;84(2):432-470. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2020.07.087.

  2. Armstrong AW, Robertson AD, Wu J, Schupp C, Lebwohl MG. Undertreatment, Treatment Trends, and Treatment Dissatisfaction Among Patients With Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis in the United States: Findings From the National Psoriasis Foundation Surveys, 2003-2011. JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(10):1180–1185. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.5264.

  3. Muromoto R, Oritani K, Matsuda T. Current understanding of the role of tyrosine kinase 2 signaling in immune responses. World J Biol Chem. 2022;13(1):1–14. doi:10.4331/wjbc.v13.i1.1.4.