Thync Global, which markets wearables that help users sleep better or relax, reported the first effective use of bioelectronics to treat psoriasis in a pilot study. The noninvasive therapy “significantly” reduced psoriasis symptoms and could fill a gap in psoriasis treatment.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin disorder where patients have patches of red, inflamed skin covered in scales. It occurs when skin cells move quickly to the surface, where they build up before they mature. The disease affects more than 6.7 million adults in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
The pilot study involved 28 patients; 18 were treated with Thync’s device, while the remaining 10 received a placebo device. The patients used the device 10 minutes a day for four weeks.
Of the 18 patients in the treatment group, 15 (83%) reported at least a 50% reduction in redness, scaling and itchiness, compared to two patients in the control group, the company said. One-third of the treated patients reported at least a 75% reduction in symptoms, compared to none in the control group, said Sumon Pal, Thync chief scientific officer.
Worn on the neck, Thync’s device uses proprietary algorithms to deliver electrical stimulation to targeted nerves in the cervical and thoracic spine, the company said in a statement. It exploits the link between the sympathetic nervous system and the immune response.
“The nervous system plays a powerful role in modulating the immune response,” Pal said in the statement. “By creating a technology that can noninvasively manipulate the neurogenic pathways that regulate the immune system, we can provide a drug and side-effect free therapy for psoriasis.”
Psoriasis may be treated with localized treatments—such as light therapy and topical treatments—or systemic treatment, namely, pharmaceuticals. While topical treatment may work for patients with milder forms of psoriasis, patients with severe disease may need medications that are taken orally or by injection. But treatments may not be suitable for patients with moderate disease.
This is where Thync might come in, said Thync CEO Isy Goldwasser. A patient with moderate disease may not particularly want to go on biologics but may have a severe enough form of the disease that topical medications aren’t enough, he said.
“A chemical-free systemic therapy for the chronic disorder would be really game-changing for many patients,” Goldwasser said.
“Our next step is to generate clinical data through collaborations with leading institutions such as the University of California, San Francisco,” Pal said in the statement.