New Genetic Test Will Enable Early Detection - and Treatment - of Psoriatic Arthritis

September 16, 2009

A new genetic test that can detect the presence of psoriatic arthritis (PsA) was launched on Tuesday, September 15, that may enable physicians to administer early treatment, lessening joint damage and decreasing inflammation, therefore reducing symptoms.

A new genetic test that can detect the presence of psoriatic arthritis (PsA) was launched on Tuesday, September 15, that may enable physicians to administer early treatment, lessening joint damage and decreasing inflammation, therefore reducing symptoms.

PsoriasisDX, LLC, a subsidiary of molecular dermatology research and development innovator PharmaGenoma, Inc., announced recently that the new genetic test is now available through a physician for $399.00. A cheek swab will be collected for genetic testing and mailed to the PsoriasisDX laboratory for analysis; the results will then be provided to the physician.

According to Nathan Vandergrift, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and biostatistics at Duke University, and professor Doron Lancet, PhD, head of the Crown Human Genome Center in the Department of Molecular Genetics, Weizmann Institute of Science, about 60% of patients who develop PsA tested positive for an immune response gene variant called MICA-A9, while about 70% of patients who tested negative for the MICA-A9 gene variant did not develop PsA. The researchers who worked on the development of the new genetic test replicated the correlation between the MICA-A9 gene variant and the risk for developing PsA in four peer-reviewed and published studies, which included more than 900 patients from multiple ethnic populations.

According to University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), psoriasis expert John Koo, MD, the ability to evaluate a person for PsA before the onset of symptoms is a key factor in the ability to better manage symptoms of the disease and lessen permanent damage.

"Until now, doctors have screened patients after the onset of the inflammatory arthritis,” Koo said. “FDA approved medications for the treatment of PsA are most effective at controlling inflammation and arresting joint destruction, but are ineffective at reversing joint damage."

Wilson Liao, MD, a pharmacogenomics expert from UCSF, explained that the ability to use a genetic test for determining the presence of PsA is a testament to the recent strides made in medical research.

"Dramatic advances in science mean that genetic tests hold the promise of identifying those at highest risk for developing psoriatic arthritis," said Wilson.