Research Summaries

Striving for a Cure: Enhancing Our Understanding of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis


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


Title of Study

Susceptibility Factors for Arthritis in Subjects with Psoriasis (IPART Study)

Why do this research?

Psoriasis (PsC) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that is often associated with a destructive joint disease known as psoriatic arthritis (PsA).  Although significant advances have been made in the treatment of both PsC and PsA, a cure is not yet available, as the specific causes of the diseases are not yet known.  Often, the diagnosis of PsC or PsA is delayed, which may lead to disability and greatly affect quality of life for those suffering from these diseases.  In order to better predict who may be suffering from early PsA, and why it is that some patients with psoriasis develop arthritis while others do not, we need to know:

  1. When and how arthritis progression occurs in patients with PsC
  2. Differences in the genetic makeup of PsC patients with and without arthritis
  3. Environmental, biological, genetic, and psychological risk factors that predict arthritis in patients with PsC


What was found so far?

This is a multicenter study that commenced in 2008.  The Vancouver site is one of more than ten international sites that are collaborating on this project.  Scientists from ARC have used data from this study to compare differences in body weight among patients with PsC, PsA, rheumatoid arthritis, and a healthy population to determine which group is most likely to be obese.  The results from this study show that both PsC and PsA patients are more likely to be obese.   Whether PsA causes obesity or obesity causes PsA warrants further investigation.  This research emphasizes the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight and following a nutritious diet, particularly for patients with PsC and PsA.


What will be done?

To recruit participants, we used local newspaper advertisements and physician referrals from psoriasis clinics.  The study is open to the public; to be eligible to take part, participants must have a diagnosis of PsC or PsA, which is confirmed by study rheumatologists/dermatologists.  Participants are seen on a yearly basis for five years and receive a physical assessment, blood draw, questionnaires, and if applicable, x-rays of arthritic joints at each visit.  At the Vancouver site, we currently have 87 participants enrolled toward our goal of 100.  Collectively, all sites have recruited over 3500 participants and are seeking a total of 4000.

Please note that recruitment for this study is currently on hold until 2016. If you are interested in participating in this study and would like to be notified when recruitment has resumed, please contact Sharan Rai at (604) 207-4033 or


Who is funding the research?

This research is funded by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)


Who is on the research team?


Jan Dutz – MD, FRCPC, Dermatologist and Rheumatologist, Vancouver General Hospital, Skin Care Centre

Youwen Zhou – MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology and Skin Science, University of British Columbia


Research Staff:

Sharan Rai, Research Assistant, ARC




To learn more, please contact Sharan Rai at (604) 207-4033 or


Links to Study Related Research?

For tips on healthy eating, check out Canada’s Food Guide.

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