Revving up immune system may help treat eczema

So I do see your old eczema. Yes. You know still have… My patient came in with severe eczema since.

So I do see your old eczema. Yes. You know still have… My patient came in with severe eczema since childhood. It never went away, in fact it got worse over time. Red, scaly, cracked, oozing skin virtually from head to toe. Couldn’t go out and play as a child, was very self-conscious. Eczema affects anywhere from 10 to 20% of the population. It’s a very, very common disease. All therapies up to this point, whether it’s topical steroids or, uh, other, newer drugs that are coming out really try to suppress the immune system. And that’s been the traditional strategy. But we’ve actually taken a very different approach. And we thought why don’t we actually try to boost another part of the immune system, namely Natural Killer cells, or NK cells, which has really been shown to be very important in fighting off viruses. Well how did we make the link? Patients with eczema actually have a lot of trouble fighting off viral infections in the skin. So the idea here was to really just boost NK cells and then bring the immune system back in balance And in fact that’s what we did and we showed in mice, definitively, that this actually improves eczema. So we think that this might be an alternative treatment for patients with eczema in the clinic. It’s actually a short leap to take this into humans. Um, so, really there are already drugs out there that are in development. So we could either use one of those drugs, or even design our own drug to boost this. Every, literally every single day I’m, like, ‘Is it going to come back, is it going to come back?’ Really? I’ve been treating eczema for a very long time and it wasn’t until actually we were able to get patients dramatically better, especially those with severe disease, that I came to recognize how much it was Really affecting their lives. Patients could finally get out in public for the first time, go about doing the things that they always wanted to do, that they were afraid to do.

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