Psoriatic arthritis is a joint disease developed by and estimated 20 to 40 percent of psoriasis patients. Detecting the disease in the early stages can provide an opportunity to administer treatments that can lessen the damage to the joints.
Pharmaceutical company PharmaGenoma, through its subsidiary PsoriasisDx, has developed a genetic test to assist doctors in identifying patients that are at risk for psoriatic arthritis before they show any symptoms. The company says that this is the first genetic test of its kind.
According to University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Psoriasis expert Dr. John Koo,
“Until now, doctors have screened patients after the onset of the inflammatory arthritis. FDA approved medications for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis are most effective at controlling inflammation and arresting joint destruction, but are ineffective at reversing joint damage.”
The PsoriasisDX Genetic Test, which costs $399, uses a cheek swab to obtain the necessary genetic material. The sample is then sent for analysis to the PsoriasisDX laboratory which uses genetic sequencing to detect an immune response gene variant called MICA-A9. This gene variant is present in nearly 60 percent of psoriatic arthritis patients.
The relationship between MICA-A9 and psoriatic arthritis has been replicated by four peer-reviewed and published studies which involved over 900 patients from several ethnic populations.
If the PsoriasisDX Genetic Test shows positive results for the MICA-A9 variant, it means the patient has about a 60 percent chance of developing psoriatic arthritis. Alternatively, testing negative for MICA-A9 indicates that the patient has a 70 percent chance of not developing psoriatic arthritis.
It is hoped that testing for MICA-A9 will result in early detection of an increased risk of psoriatic arthritis and ensure that those patients who require intervention will receive them before inflammatory arthritis begins.