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Blocking nerve cells could stop the itch of eczema

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Blocking the nerve response responsible for itching could break the itch cycle of eczema, according to new research.

eczemaIt is estimated that 10% of the population will suffer from eczema or atopic dermatitis at some point in their lives.

Most modern research into eczema focus on the immune system’s response to certain biological chemicals, such as TSLP (thymic stromal lymphopoietin), and external irritants and most modern treatments for eczema focus on how to inhibit that immune system response.

However scientists at the University of California have discovered that sensory nerves in the skin are the first to react to these chemicals and that blocking the skin’s itch receptors not only stops the scratching, but may also reduce the worst consequences of eczema.

The research, published online in the journal Cell, suggests that just blocking what is happening in the neurons, may block the symptoms of chronic itch, including the big immune response leading to eczema flare ups.

[quote]As a result of the new study, the researchers have already identified a potential new drug currently being developed for a different inflammatory disease that stops mice from scratching when it is applied to the skin. They have suggested that this drug could also be used to block the nerve response that causes the acute itching and inflammation in skin prone to eczema.[/quote]

 

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