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There is no cure for psoriatic arthritis, but Drs. Dafna Gladman and Vinod Chandran of the Krembil Research Institute are part of an international group looking for the cause, improved diagnostics and more effective treatments.
What exactly is psoriatic arthritis?
Dr. Gladman, a Krembil Senior Scientist, rheumatologist and co-director of the Psoriatic Arthritis Clinic at Toronto Western Hospital, explains it is a form of arthritis that occurs in people with psoriasis. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that occurs in up to 3 per cent of the general population.
Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory arthritis which presents with pain and swelling in the affected joints and affects about one-third of people with psoriasis.
"In 85 to 90 per cent of patients, the psoriasis either comes first or at the same time as the arthritis," says Dr. Gladman. "In about 10 to 15 per cent, the arthritis will come first, and the psoriasis may be recognized later or may actually come later."
What triggers psoriatic arthritis is still unknown, but there are some intriguing avenues of research.
"That's a major question for which we don't have a definitive answer, but we have a number of ideas," says Dr. Gladman. "We've done some studies, and we've demonstrated that environmental factors such as infection and injury are risk factors for the development of psoriatic arthritis and even psoriasis."
The Krembil Research Institute and the Globe and Mail have teamed up for a special project designed to highlight the tremendous achievements of the science and research programs at Krembil. The first of three magazines in this series looks at the brain and spine program, a second highlights the vision program and a final edition, which is also now available on line, explores the arthritis program.