Dr Haus Dermatology showcases ground-breaking treatment at Arab Health 2019

Q&A - 19TH DECEMBER 2018

Dermatologist Dr Haus on the use of biologic therapy to treat psoriasis

Biologic therapy is a cutting-edge psoriasis treatment that uses the body’s own immune system to fight the disease. In January, Dr Ariel Haus, dermatologist and medical director of Dr Haus Dermatology, will join the Harley Street Medical Area stand to showcase the pioneering treatment at Arab Health 2019. Dr Haus explains more.

What is biologic therapy and how does it help sufferers of psoriasis?
Biologic therapy is designed to stimulate or restore the ability of the body’s immune system to fight infection and disease. Other drugs are made from plants or chemicals, whereas biologics are made from proteins that target the immune system in a much more specific way. They target the immune response that leads to the rapid skin cell growth characteristic of psoriasis. An example of a biologic drug used in dermatology is secukinumab, which can be used for the treatment of chronic psoriasis when conventional treatment options have failed. Secukinumab is administered via an injection under the skin of the stomach, thighs or upper outer arms. Biologic therapy has been in existence for many years, but we are still in the early stages. At the Dr Haus clinic, we are using the most up-to-date products and are seeing fantastic results with patients.

Can you explain more about what psoriasis is?
Psoriasis is an immune condition that manifests itself on the skin and sometimes the joints. When a person has psoriasis, their skin replacement process speeds up, taking just a few hours to replace skin cells that usually take 21-28 days. This accumulation of skin cells builds up to form raised ‘plaques’ on the skin, which can also be flaky and scaly, red on Caucasian skin, darker patches on darker skin tones, and itchy. Some people will have a family history of the condition, but others may not. A flare-up of psoriasis can be triggered by a number of factors, such as stress or anxiety, injury to skin, hormonal changes, or certain infections or medications.

Besides psoriasis, what are some other conditions biologic therapies can be used to help?
Biologic therapies involve the use of substances called biological response modifiers. The body usually produces these in small amounts but through technology they can be used in large amounts to treat conditions such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.

Can it be used in children?
For the majority of common paediatric conditions, biologics is not currently employed as a treatment options however for conditions such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis, biologics is being used with certain success. There is currently lots of clinical studies to further these developments.

Are there any risks involved with this treatment?
As with any treatment there are downsides. Biologic therapy affects the immune system so in some cases it may compromise its ability to fight infection and disease. This would be closely monitored by the overseeing doctor.

Is this yet to be available in Dubai?
There are certain consultants in Dubai using biologic therapies for arthritis, but it is not widely used for the treatment of psoriasis as yet. That’s why we are extremely excited to be able to able to bring biologic therapy to Arab Health, as it’s at the very latest in cutting-edge techniques. It is great to be part of the Harley Street Medical Area stand to showcase London’s medical excellence.

What is the treatment protocol? Is it invasive or minimally invasive?
This is a revolutionary treatment for patients suffering with chronic diseases such as psoriasis and arthritis. It is minimally invasive, as it is simple to administer and does not require surgical intervention. The treatment protocol is tailored to each patient. The dosage and frequency very much depend on the patient. It is not uncommon for a doctor to prescribe one dose per week for the first five weeks and then once a month thereafter. However, for some patients it may just be monthly treatments that are needed.

Finally, is this an ongoing type of treatment?
Biologic therapy is used to treat chronic diseases and can be life changing for many people. The treatment is ongoing, and patients mustn’t be tempted to stop, or their condition will deteriorate again.