A new jab that eases the symptoms of eczema could help improve the lives of millions of sufferers, after trials show promising results.
The new therapy is to be given to hundreds of patients after clinical trials show the treatment gives “significant improvement” in symptoms after just a single dose.
First of its kind
The drug, called etokimab, works by targeting the most common form of the condition, atopic eczema, which is more common in children.
The condition causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked and is typically long-term, although it can improve, or clear completely in some children as they get older, according to the NHS.
Atopic eczema often develops in children before their first birthday, but symptoms can occur for the first time in adults.
Current treatments for the condition include emollients and topic corticosteroids, but there is currently no cure and for those with severe symptoms and the condition can be incredibly debilitating.
This new treatment, which is the first of its kind, could give hope to thousands by relieving symptoms in just one dose.
The drug works by targeting a part of the immune system known to fuel inflammation (Photo: Shutterstock)
The drug works by targeting a part of the immune system called IL-33, which is known to fuel inflammation.
The molecule IL-33 is released by damaged skin and encourages immune cells to the site, which causes inflammation.
By blocking this, the drug stops the influx of immune cells and thereby prevents any inflammation.
Professor Graham Ogg, leader of the study, said just one dose of the drug appears to improve symptoms, with the initial trial showing promising results.
The trials were carried out on 12 patients who all showed a reduction in their physical symptoms, at least halving their score on the scale of disease severity.
These results were still seen 29 days after for 10 of the subjects – 83 per cent of those taking part.
Ogg’s team are now planning to conduct a much larger clinical trial, testing the new drug on 300 eczema sufferers.
He told The Sun: "This clinical trial is the first time we've looked at how blocking IL-33 can help patients with atopic dermatitis.
"These results are only very preliminary and we need to be cautious.
"But we're currently testing the therapy in a larger double-blind randomised trial in people with atopic dermatitis and we look forward to seeing the results."
Future research could also investigate whether treatments targeting IL-33 may also be beneficial for other immune diseases associated with neutrophils – a type of immune cell involved in inflammation.
The study is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine and the trial was funded by the antibody development company AnaptysBio.