Dermatologists claim breakthrough in cure of psoriasis

Special Correspondent

Dr. V.N. Saxena and Dr. Jaideep Dogra identify a bacterium in the throat as a causative organism of the illness

JAIPUR: Two dermatologists of Jaipur have claimed a breakthrough in the cure of psoriasis, a skin disease causing red scaly patches that was previously thought to be a lifelong ailment, by identifying a bacterium in the throat as a causative organism of the illness.

The doctors have treated the patients of psoriasis by antibiotic drugs such as penicillin and azithromycin.

V.N. Saxena of the Department of Dermatology at Sawai Man Singh Medical College here and Jaideep Dogra of the Central Government Health Scheme in their evidence-based research have for the first time found a permanent cure for psoriasis for which only suppressive therapy was available so far.

The two doctors have stated that streptococci bacteria in the throat are responsible for causing acute psoriasis, which is found in approximately three per cent population around the world.

The remnants of streptococci left in the body following throat infection, possibly because of inadequate elimination by the immune system, cause psoriasis after a gap ranging from a few months to several years, according to their research.

The research, published in the European Journal of Dermatology recently, has found similarities between the psoriasis disorder after throat infection and rheumatic heart disease after rheumatic fever.

Dr. Dogra told The Hindu here on Thursday that when the therapy was initiated on the lines of treatment of rheumatic heart ailment, excellent clearing of lesions and patches was observed within a few weeks after injecting benzathine penicillin into the patients.

Those suffering from psoriasis have oval to round scaly patches of different sizes occurring mainly on the back of arms and scalp.

The lesion has silvery scales with reddish base and the disorder generally intensifies during winter. In some patients, joints and nails may also be affected.

Dr. Dogra said nearly 70 per cent of the psoriasis patients of all age groups develop the disease in a chronic form.

"When killed streptococcal material was injected in the skin of normal persons, psoriatic lesion developed at the site of injection and elsewhere in the body," he said, adding that experiments spanning two years concluded that streptococci was the cause of the illness.

A recent study by Richard D.R. Camp of the Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation in the University of Leicester, U.K., has also supported the work of the Jaipur doctors by concluding that "long-lived'' streptococci might be responsible for chronic psoriasis.

Prof. Saxena and Dr. JaideepDogra selected 30 histopathologically confirmed patients, including 20 men and 10 women, with chronic psoriasis for the study, and all of them responded positively to the treatment with none of them having had a relapse of disorder during the study period of two years, except for the development of a few small new lesions in the six patients during winter which were cleared on continuing the treatment.

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