New yeast study reveals potential eczema treatment pathway
24 November 2011 00:00 in Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs
Scientists have moved a step closer to finding a cure for atopic eczema through a new study of a common strain of yeast involved in inflammatory skin conditions.
Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden have conducted experiments to find a way of killing Malassezia sympodialis - a known trigger for eczema and other skin complaints - without harming healthy human cells.
Of the 21 different peptides trialled in the study, six were found to be able to kill the yeast without affecting the membranes of keratinocyte skin cells, meaning they could be used as the basis for new treatments.
Tina Holm, one of the researchers involved in the project, observed that more research will be needed before this is viable, with the next step being to examine the mechanism through which they act.
"However, the appealing combination of being toxic to the yeast at low concentrations whilst sparing human cells makes them very promising as antifungal agents," she added.
According to NHS data, eczema affects one in five UK children, with 80 percent of cases occurring before the patient reaches the age of five.
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