Genetic Prediction Model Helps Gauge Arthritis Risk in Psoriasis Patients

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Genetic Prediction Model Helps Gauge Arthritis Risk in Psoriasis Patients

Treatment planning for a painful and potentially disabling condition could be made easier with a new model for assessing genetic risk in people with psoriasis.

With its unmistakable thick, scaly, white-and-red patches, psoriasis is a relatively common chronic skin condition that can lead to a greatly reduced quality of life.

And about 30 percent of people with psoriasis go on to develop psoriatic arthritis, a painful joint inflammation that can lead to long-lasting joint damage.

Now, a team of Michigan Medicine researchers is looking to genetics to help predict which patients with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis — a connection that could be valuable in tailoring treatment.

Researchers have previously identified individual genetic mutations associated with a person’s likelihood of developing Mendelian diseases (ones that are caused by a single inherited gene).

But many diseases — including psoriasis — are associated with a group of genes working in concert. These are known as complex diseases, because they result from the interplay of multiple genes and environmental and lifestyle factors. In the case of psoriasis, those factors include stress and infection.

That complex balance prompted Matthew Patrick, Ph.D., and Alex C. Tsoi, Ph.D., M.S., to use statistics and machine learning to develop a model to predict which psoriasis patients are at increased risk of developing psoriatic arthritis.

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