Assessing the Complications of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis


Principal Investigators: Hyon Choi – Research Scientist of Rheumatology, MD, DrPH, FRCPC. Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School


Why do this research?

Psoriasis (PsC) is a chronic, non-contagious skin disease that commonly leads to the appearance of red scaly patches on the skin. Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic and disabling inflammatory joint disease associated with psoriasis. PsC and PsA patients may be at higher risk for the development of heart disease, cancer, infections, and premature death. At present, information about the burden of illness of PsC/PsA is very scarce and inconsistent. This leading study is looking at:

  1. The proportion of people living with PsC/PsA and the number of people newly diagnosed with PsC/PsA each year in British Columbia
  2. The extent of health care utilization and the financial burden caused by PsC/PsA
  3. Whether or not PsC/PsA increases the risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and infections
  4. Whether or not PsC/PsA increases the risk of death

By better understanding the complications of PsA, we can help to develop preventative measures to better serve patients.


What was found?

The study commenced in 2007 and valuable information about the progression from PsC to PsA continues to be generated.  Researchers are identifying new genes associated with PsA that could be targets for new therapies, or could provide genetic tests to help identify at-risk individuals. Researchers are also looking into key biological mechanisms involved in the progression of arthritis, in order to better understand the disease.  The study results may positively change the standards of clinical care for PsC and PsA patients.


How was this study conducted?

The study population was derived from the British Columbia Linked Health Database (BCLHD), an extensive data resource covering the entire population of BC.  It includes anonymous individual data on visits to health care professionals, laboratory tests, hospital visits and interventions, prescriptions, as well as data from the BC Cancer Agency, Vital Statistics, Mental Health, and Workers’ Compensation Board.  Using this rich source of data from 1991-2006, we are conducting the study in three parts:

  1. Identifying all cases of PsC/PsA and assessing the burden of both diseases in BC
  2. Comparing the rates of heart disease, cancer, infections, and death between PsC/PsA patients with rates of healthy individuals in BC in order to identify important differences
  3. Evaluating the financial burden and health care utilization of PsC/PsA


Who is funding the research?

This study is funded by Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)


Who is on the research team?


Aslam Anis – PhD. Professor, UBC/Medicine, Faculty of / School of Population and Public Health/Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Jan Dutz – Associate Professor, UBC/Medicine, Faculty of Dermatology & Skin Science

John Esdaile – MD, MPH, FRCPC. Professor, UBC/Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology-Med

Jacek Kopec – MD, PhD. Associate Professor, UBC/Medicine, Faculty of School of Population and Public Health

Diane Lacaille – MD, MHSc, FRCPC ,Associate Professor, UBC/Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Department of/Rheumatology – Med

Carlo Marra – PharmD, PhD, FCSHP. Associate Professor, UBC/Pharmaceutical Sciences


Research Staff:

Aliya Haji, Research Assistant, ARC


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