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CBS’ King of Queens Season Finale Features Psoriasis Subplot -- Advocacy Group Hopes It Ends Hollywood Stars’ Silence about Disease


KENSINGTON, Md., May 17 -- In real life, Hollywood stars dare not say the word. Despite more than 2 percent of adults having the disease, virtually no one in Hollywood will admit having psoriasis, a non-contagious, incurable immune system disease. But tomorrow night on the season finale of CBS-TV’s “King of Queens,” Jerry Stiller’s character Arthur will face his psoriasis with the help of Stiller’s real-life wife, guest star Anne Meara. “Psoriasis Cure Now,” a patient advocacy group, is hoping this fictional portrayal will end the silence in Hollywood about this misunderstood, under-researched and often debilitating disease.

“Jerry Stiller is a comic genius, and no doubt he will make us laugh about this most unlikely of subplots, psoriasis,” said Michael Paranzino, president of Psoriasis Cure Now. “But while we are all laughing, let’s also remember that for 6.5 million Americans young and old, psoriasis is not funny, but is both physically and emotionally painful.”

Psoriasis is an incurable, recurring disease of the immune system that can first strike at any age, causing dry, painful skin lesions that can crack, bleed and itch. Many people with psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis, a chronic, progressive and debilitating inflammatory disease that often causes joint pain, stiffness and swelling, as well as bone damage. But while studies show that more than 2 percent of American adults have psoriasis, it is nearly impossible to find anyone in Tinsel Town who will admit having it.

“I hope this psoriasis storyline bags Stiller the Emmy he has long deserved,” Paranzino added. “And I hope it convinces someone in Hollywood to step out and publicly stand with all the children and adults living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.”

The timing of this show comes in the midst of National Arthritis Month. If psoriasis is misunderstood, its arthritic component, psoriatic arthritis, is downright unknown and virtually un-researched. The federal government spends just $1 per patient annually researching psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis combined. Psoriasis Cure Now has been educating Congress about the need for a more significant commitment to psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis research, and has a web-based campaign at .

“CBS says the subplot will revolve around Stiller’s character’s fear of his psoriasis medication,” Paranzino concluded. “Many patients in real-life have reason to fear, as some psoriasis treatments can harm the liver, the kidneys and even increase cancer rates. I have a feeling I’ll cringe at some of the punch lines directed at us psoriasis patients, but I also believe something positive will come of this. And it should be a hilarious half-hour.”


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