A research team at the University of Pennsylvania will receive $8.6 million to study the effectiveness of home-based phototherapy treatments for psoriasis compared to treatments that require a visit to a doctor’s office three times a week.
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) awarded the funding to Joel M. Gelfand, MD, MSCE, a professor of Dermatology and Epidemiology in the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn, who will lead the project.
Ultraviolet B phototherapy requires treatment in an office three times per week for 12 weeks, which is a substantial burden for patients, as it pulls time away from work and family obligations and adds to transportation costs.
By contrast, “home-based phototherapy represents a more patient-centered approach, but there is a lack of data comparing its effectiveness to that of the office-based treatments,” Gelfand says in a news release. “This has led to decisional uncertainty from patients, dermatologists, and insurers.”
Gelfand’s team will conduct a randomized, controlled study in 1,050 patients age six and older to compare the effectiveness and safety of 12 weeks of home-based versus office-based phototherapy. The study will include 20 to 40 sites across the country. It will also evaluate whether patients with fairer skin are more prone to problems with tolerability, such as burns from increased light penetration, and whether those with darker skin are more prone to problems with effectiveness due to decreased UV light penetration.