According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), between 10–20 percent of children suffer from atopic dermatitis (aka eczema), whereas only about 1–3 percent of adults do, but doctors can’t explain exactly why some get it and others don’t. Known to cause intense dryness and itching (the scratching only makes it worse), eczema can make a person absolutely miserable. A new study, led by Kita-Jo Kojinkai of the Naika-Hifuka Clinic in Hokkaido Japan, shows promising results from the use of an injection to stop the pain associated with the skin condition.
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The injection introduces the antibody CIM331 into the bloodstream to neutralize the protein (interleukin-31, or IL-31) that is responsible for the itching. The study’s trial was conducted on 24 Japanese and Caucasian patients (all of which experienced no adverse side effects), and saw successful results after only one injection—patients who received the injection reported significantly less itching and better sleep than their placebo counterparts.
“Exciting new advances show promise for those suffering from eczema with this new injection that neutralizes an itch-inducing protein (IL-31) present in the skin and blood in those with the chronic condition,” says New York dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD. “This new treatment may offer significant relief from itching, dryness and scratching—the main symptoms of eczema. Additionally, it may mitigate the risk of side effects, inconvenience and messiness associated with the topical medications that are currently available.”
Although not yet available to the mass market, Dr. Engelman says it looks promising for the future. “I definitely think more trials will be done with this drug—as it shows great promise—and we should be hearing more about it. Clinical trials are already ongoing here in the U.S.”
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