Atopic dermatitis research round-up

Atopic dermatitis is a type of eczema, a skin condition caused by an overactive immune system that can lead to redness, blotchiness, and itching, typically on the face, arms, and legs. Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema, impacting more than 9.6 million children and 16.5 million adults worldwide.

Most people will exhibit symptoms of atopic dermatitis before the age of 5. For some children, the condition may lessen with time, while some people will experience chronic symptoms throughout their lives. While doctors are not sure what the root cause of atopic dermatitis is, the prevalence of this disease has led to an abundance of research to better understand it. 

Below, we’re taking a look at some of the most exciting research in the atopic dermatitis space today: Details about a new, FDA-approved drug for children, insights into the development of the disease, and trials for new treatments are all included.

FDA approves new drug for children with atopic dermatitis

In June of 2022, the FDA approved Dupixent® (dupilumab) for children with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis aged 6 months to 5 years. This drug is approved for children whose atopic dermatitis is not currently controlled with topical prescriptions, or in situations where topical therapies are not advisable. In the United States, it is estimated that over 75,000 children under the age of 5 have uncontrolled moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis, and many could benefit from more treatment options. 

The study found the medication helped patients by lessening key symptoms, in addition to significantly improving the quality of life both for the children and their caregivers. Until this approval, treatment was limited to harsh, topical steroids that are often associated with safety concerns following long-term use. Dupilumab, a biologic given via subcutaneous injection, targets sources of inflammation deep beneath the skin and can potentially provide an alternative for these patients. 

New insight into atopic dermatitis development

A study, performed on genetically modified mice that had lesions similar to those produced by atopic dermatitis in humans, provided new insights into how the condition may be treated in the future by learning more about its origins.

The researchers utilized RNA analysis on the mice to study their gene expression and found an over-expressive immune response similar to what is found in humans with atopic dermatitis. With that knowledge, they developed a monoclonal antibody treatment to target these genes, which resulted in a decrease in inflammation for the mice being monitored.

Atopic dermatitis treatment trial moves to Phase IIb

ASLAN Pharmaceuticals recently announced that it has screened the first patient for its Phase IIb trial of eblasakimab for adults with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis. This monoclonal antibody treatment will potentially be the first of its kind and could provide a different treatment option for patients.

In a preliminary clinical evaluation, eblasakimab was found to reduce disease activity by up to 80% within 8 weeks. The study is measuring a percentage change in the Eczema Area Severity Index (EASI) and is expected to report its findings in the first half of 2023.

For patients who have been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, participating in medical research can be an opportunity to move science forward. If you would like to learn more about what trials are available, visit the link below: