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Sharing Innovations in Psoriasis Biologics and Uplifting Women in Dermatology

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Mona Shahriari, MD, presented real-world data on the efficacy of IL-23 inhibitors for psoriasis, as well as shared her advice from the Bristol Myers Squibb Women’s Connection Forum.

“I'm going to walk the team through the head-to-head clinical trial data, but also the real-world data because the reality is a drug may perform beautifully in a controlled clinical trial setting, but the real world is messy, so that drug may not perform in the same way. I'm going to guide the attendees on which drugs offer the best durability of response over time. Spoiler alert: the IL-23's have really held up not only from an efficacy standpoint, but also from a safety standpoint over time,” said Mona Shahriari, MD, FAAD, in an interview with Dermatology Times at the 2024 American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Annual Meeting in San Diego, California.

Shahriari, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine and the associate director of clinical trials at CCD Research in Connecticut, presented pearls from her AAD session, “Comparative Efficacy and Relative Ranking of Psoriasis Biologics Using Real-world and Clinical Trial Data.” Shahriari reviewed the efficacy of various biologics and systemics for psoriasis in both clinical trials and real-world examples. Shahriari also reviewed the efficacy of biosimilars and their success.

At AAD, Shahriari also participated in a panel during Bristol Myers Squibb’s Women Connection Forum. Shahriari spoke alongside Latanya Benjamin, MD, FAAD, FAAP; Alexandra Golant, MD, FAAD; and Jenny Murase, MD, FAAD, to share their personal and professional journeys, as well as advice for women in dermatology.

“If there's something that you want, it's okay to ask. I think a lot of times as women, we assume that certain opportunities are given to us based on our credentials, people look at our CV, people look at everything that we've done. But that's not always the case. Sometimes people don't even know that you're interested in activity. I learned that if there was something I was interested in, if I just asked and said, “Hey, I just want to throw my name in the hat for XYZ opportunity that's coming up,” they've actually looked at me more carefully, and I've been able to partake in that opportunity,” said Shahriari when sharing her advice for women wanting to advance in dermatology.

Transcript

Mona Shahriari, MD, FAAD: Hi, my name is Mona Shahriari. I'm an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University and the associate director of clinical trials at CCD research.

Dermatology Times: What pearls are you sharing during your session, "Comparative efficacy and relative ranking of psoriasis biologics using real-world and clinical data?"

Shahriari: At this year's American Academy of Dermatology meeting, I'm going to be doing a talk that looks at the comparative effectiveness of different biologics and systemics for plaque psoriasis, not only in clinical trial data, but also in real-world data, because we have a busy toolbox of medications. And sometimes, it's tough to know which drug do I reach for first, and if that fails, which drug do I reach for a second? I'm going to really walk the team through the head-to-head clinical trial data, but also the real-world data, because the reality is a drug may perform beautifully in a controlled clinical trial setting, but the real world is messy, so that drug may not perform in the same way. I'm going to guide the attendees on which drugs offer the best durability of response over time. Spoiler alert the IL-23's have really held up not only from an efficacy standpoint, but from a safety standpoint over time. And interestingly, some of our biosimilars have proven to be just as good as our originator drugs. So,we'll walk through the nitty gritty of those details.

Dermatology Times: What other topics or sessions are you looking forward to at AAD?

Shahriari: Well, I have to say the late breaker session is always my absolute favorite. I make sure not to miss that because being on the cutting edge of clinical trials and dermatology research, I want to make sure I'm offering my patients the most innovative treatment for their skin disease. So that is a session I do not miss because I want to make sure I know what the rest of 2024 is going to look like. But also, the JAK Inhibitors: A New Frontier, that was a new session that hit the space last year, heavily attended, and JAK inhibitors are revolutionizing how we treat so many different diseases within dermatology. I really want to see what else is out there on the horizon, and how we can bring this amazing therapy to our patients.

Dermatology Times: What is the significance of the Bristol Myers Squibb Women's Forum Panel that you participated in?

Shahriari: Well, I really think this is a landmark connection form that they put together, because the reality is as women not only in dermatology, but also as career women out there, there are definitely some disparities that go on, whether it's related to pay, whether it's related to promotion, or really just getting your name out there and exposure. And really, the purpose of this woman's connection forum is to not only help us gain connections with other women leaders within the field, and have those friendships develop and networking opportunities develop, but also to hear about the struggles of other women. Sometimes when you normalize it, and you have somebody who you look up to tell you, "You know what, I went through the same challenges. And this is how I overcame them." It can really help you feel closer to those individuals. But also, you realize everybody's human, everyone's going to face challenges, and what can you do to overcome those challenges and not let them get you down?

Dermatology Times: What advice do you have for other women in dermatology?

Shahriari: I really think the 2 main pieces of advice I have is to find a good mentorship network. And I'm calling it a network and not a mentor because in different stages of your life and different aspects of your career, you're going to need different people. And that mentor might be a female, that mentor might be a male. You want to find different individuals to include in that network of yours so you'll have individuals to go through. But also, one other piece of advice I have is if there's something that you want, it's okay to ask. I think a lot of times as women, we assume that certain opportunities are given to us based on our credentials, people look at our CV, people look at everything that we've done. But that's not always the case. Sometimes people don't even know that you're interested in an activity. And I really learned that if there was something I was interested in, if I just asked and said, "Hey, I just want to throw my name in the hat for XYZ opportunity that's coming up, "they've actually looked at me more carefully, and I've been able to partake in that opportunity. So that was one of the simplest pieces of advice I got once upon a time. And it's really done well for me.

Dermatology Times: What positive changes have you seen in dermatology? 

Shahriari: I think one thing I've noticed is historically, as a specialty, we used to prescribe a lot of topical agents for our patients. But we've had an explosion of oral and injectable medications for the treatment of various diseases. And I've been really pleased to find a lot of my colleagues jumping on the bandwagon to offer patients some of these newer therapies because sometimes as dermatologists we do want to see more safety data, we do want to see more efficacy data. But I think the value of these newer generation medications, not only from an efficacy standpoint, but also from a safety standpoint is becoming more evident. So, to see my colleagues jump on the bandwagon and offer these to the patients is really going to make a difference for our patients for years and years to come.

One other piece that I've seen is there's been a lot of emphasis on diversity within clinical trials and really allowing for our patients with skin of color to be at the forefront of many activities that we do within dermatology. Because the reality is that historically a lot of our patients with skin of color, they were not in our clinical trials. And when these individuals went to dermatology offices, they were either not getting appropriate treatment, or they were being undertreated. misdiagnosed. And many of my contemporaries and colleagues just didn't feel comfortable caring for these individuals, but as the population of the United States diversifies, and those people who are a minority today become more of the majority, I love that within dermatology, we are prioritizing the needs of these individuals so that we can take care of all of our patients across all skin tones moving forward.

[Transcript lightly edited for space and clarity.]

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