Dr Foulkes qualified in medicine from the University of Nottingham, with an additional intercalated honours degree in the field of immunology. Following this she completed her junior medical training on the South East Scotland medical rotation, based at the New Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. Prior to commencing the North West England MRC Clinical Research Fellowship she completed 2 years of dermatology training at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne. During her training the broad exposure of systemic and biologic drug use in the treatment of patients with severe psoriasis, with evidence of variable response between individuals, triggered an evolving interest in personalised medicine. Her PhD focussed on considering if an individual’s genetic makeup influences response to treatment in severe psoriasis.
PhD: Optimisation of biological therapies for the treatment of psoriasis by the application of pharmacogenomics
Psoriasis is a common chronic inflammatory skin disease affecting 2% of the UK population. Often dismissed as simply "a skin disorder" psoriasis is associated with a significant reduction in a patient‟s quality of life comparable to that experienced in arthritis and cancer, and has serious co-morbidities such as cardiovascular disease and depression. In the treatment of psoriasis we observe contrasting efficacy and toxicity to injectable therapies known as “biological agents”. Furthermore, these therapies cost around £10,000 per patient per annum. Thus ways to predict and ‘individualise’ therapies would be highly desirable minimising cost and making treatment safer. We plan to study a large number of psoriasis patients receiving biological therapies and determine if an individual’s genetic makeup influences treatment response. In one of the largest and most comprehensive studies of its type we will utilise state of the art techniques to allow us to determine which genes are regulated when a patient is on treatment. We will then study these genes in detail to ascertain if variations within them are linked to treatment outcome. We have access to large numbers of patient samples which will allow us to carry out this work.
Dr Amy Foulkes was awarded the Best Registrar Paper at the British Association of Dermatologists Meeting 2015, the Royal Society of Medicine Dermatology Research Prize 2015 and she was subsequently awarded third place at The Royal Society of Medicine Trainee of the Year Award 2015, adjudicated by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh. Amy Foulkes is now an NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer in Dermatology at The University of Manchester. She continues to concentrate on personalisation of treatments in psoriasis.