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May 10, 2021
Taiho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Taiho Pharmaceutical Launches New VR Content, "Virtual Patient's Journey" for Doctors, a Simulation of a Palmoplantar Pustulosis Patient's Struggles and Difficulties in Everyday Life

Taiho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. announced today the launch of a virtual reality (VR) content, "Virtual Patient's Journey" in May 2021, to help doctors better understand the struggles and concerns of patients living with palmoplantar pustulosis. Palmoplantar pustulosis is an intractable skin disease that is characterized by pustules appearing on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, accompanied by pain and itching. This service was developed by Taiho Pharmaceutical and Janssen Pharmaceutical K.K. (President & CEO: Shuhei Sekiguchi, Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)

  • Patient showing her hands to her friends
  • Doctor examining the patient’s feet

It is assumed that there are around 136,000 patients with palmoplantar pustulosis in Japan, with a male to female ratio of about 1:21, 2. The onset of the disease is most common among people in their 30s to 50s2, 3. Palmoplantar pustulosis not only makes basic daily activities such as carrying things with the hands or walking a struggle, but also significantly impacts patients’ quality of life (QOL) through emotional pressures from concerns that other people will see their blisters, erythema, pustules and other symptoms4. Furthermore, as awareness of the disease is low at 11.2%5, patients usually struggle to gain understanding from the people around them.

This VR content allows users to experience the struggles and concerns of the disease by introducing various moments in the life of a palmoplantar pustulosis patient. The content follows a woman over 10 years as she strives to fulfill her role in her career and in her household. Using VR technology, doctors are able to see what the patient deals with on a daily basis through the patient’s eyes – the moment of onset of the disease, where the patient notices blisters that at first just look like rough skin; the moment she notices the startled look from a business partner when exchanging business cards or a cashier when receiving change while shopping; the moment her friends look at her in surprise as she shows them her symptoms; and, the patient’s difficulties in finding a doctor who can provide her with satisfactory treatment.

Dr. Toshiyuki Yamamoto, Professor of the Department of Dermatology, Fukushima Medical University School of Medicine, who supervised this content commented, "Patients with palmoplantar pustulosis experience pain and itching in the palms of their hands, pain in the soles of their feet when walking, and various other difficulties and mental burden in day-to-day situations. This VR content was created based on the true situation of palmoplantar pustulosis patients, and we believe that it will provide doctors with a perspective on the QOL issues associated with palmoplantar pustulosis and the importance of appropriate diagnosis and treatment.”

Masayuki Kobayashi, President and Representative Director of Taiho Pharmaceutical, explained, "Immunology and Allergy is one of our core areas of focus. We hope that our work on this new initiative to provide information through VR content will help improve the QOL of patients with palmoplantar pustulosis and bring a smile to their face."

Taiho Pharmaceutical is committed to making greater contributions to patients and medical professionals in the field of dermatology.

About Palmoplantar pustulosis

Palmoplantar pustulosis is a chronic, intractable skin disease characterized by multiple sterile pustules on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It is considered to have a significant impact on patients' QOL as symptoms on the palms of the hands are visible to others, and symptoms on the soles of the feet can sometimes be painful when walking4. In addition, these lesions are associated with recurrent pustules, persistent erythema and skin scaling over a long period of time, which also impact QOL6. This disease is more prevalent in women than in men1.

1 Kubota, K. et al.: BMJ. Open, 5: e006450, 2015
2 Fujishiro, K. et al: Japanese Journal of Dermatology, 125: 1175, 2015
3 Akiyama, T., et al.: J. Dermatol., 22: 930, 1995
4 Trattner, H., et al.: J. Eur. Acad. Dermatol. Venereol., 31: 1681, 2017.
5 Palmoplantar pustulosis patients quantitative research, Macromill CareNet, Macromill, Inc.
6 Murakami, M.: Visual Dermatol., 11: 1059, 2012

Information in this news release was current as of the original release date.

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