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Advancing the Understanding of Psoriasis To Accelerate the Development of Novel Therapeutic Agents

Epistem offers clinically relevant in vitro and in vivo psoriasis models. Psoriasis is a common inflammatory disorder affecting the skin, characterised by inflamed and itchy plaques.

Why Psoriasis Models?

Human psoriatic skin is difficult to source for R&D purposes. Thus, assays have been developed that can model specific aspects of the disease.

In vivo

The in vivo model is acute and reflects inflammatory and epithelial changes which occur in psoriatic human skin. The disease phenotype is induced via topical application of imiquimod cream.  Disease is assessed over a 5-8 day period using a Psoriasis Activity Severity Index (PASI) scoring system encompassing redness, swelling and thickness of the skin.  The effect of novel therapeutic agents can also be assessed using the ex vivo analyses detailed below.


  • Histopathology of epidermis and dermis
  • Phenotypic analysis of immune cells

Each employs flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry, multiplex analysis of key cytokines and factors, gene expression.

In vitro

In vitro models involve stimulation of human primary keratinocytes with a cocktail of pro-inflammatory cytokines which can induce a gene expression profile that mimics that of psoriasis patients. The effects of novel therapeutic agents on gene and protein expression associated with the induced inflammation can then be examined.

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