Eczema is common in infants and children, and becomes less common as people grow out of the condition. It is believed to have a hereditary element, and can also be triggered or exacerbated by stress in some patients, making it difficult to treat or prevent.
In some cases, it can be triggered by coming into contact with certain substances or environmental triggers, or can occur alongside another illness.
Current treatments focus on minimizing the symptoms of eczema, and include emollients to provide much-needed moisture and steroid creams to reduce the inflammation of the skin. Other treatments such as antihistamines may help alleviate itching, and antibiotics may also be helpful if skin becomes infected. However, none of these are able to target the underlying cause of the condition.
Scientists have discovered a new target that could prove useful as a new treatment of eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis.
A team of researchers from Boston’s Children’s Hospital have found that the condition is driven by a collection of immune cells that are, themselves, called to the site by an immune mediator called leukotriene B4.
The discovery could lead to potential new treatments that target leukotriene B4 or its receptor and block its immune cell-recruitment activity, effectively stopping the reaction in its tracks.
Having suffered with this and similar conditions myself at various stages throughout my life, I know that a new treatment of eczema with the potential to stop the immune pathway that causes eczema from within would be a welcome relief to sufferers who face a daily battle against its difficult and often debilitating symptoms.