- Bacteria that are naturally present on the skin can be used to treat atopic dermatitis.
- The bacterial therapy can reduce disease severity and relieve disease symptoms.
- The therapy involves applying bacteria from a healthy source to the skin of people with atopic dermatitis.
Treatment with bacteria called Roseomonas mucosa,
naturally present on the skin, can treat atopic dermatitis (eczema) in adults, as well as children, according to early-phase clinical trial at the National Institutes of Health. The study shows that the bacterial treatment can relieve disease symptoms and also reduce severity of eczema. The study is published in JCI Insight.
Atopic dermatitis or eczema
is an inflammatory disease of the skin. The condition can make the skin dry and itchy, cause rashes and lead to skin infections. Atopic dermatitis also increases risk for developing asthma
, hay fever and food allergy.
What causes eczema?
While the cause for atopic dermatitis is unknown, studies suggest that the bacteria on the skin plays a key role. For example, people with eczema have large populations of Staphylococcus aureus
bacteria on their skin. This bacteria can cause skin infections and trigger an inflammatory response.
"Living with atopic dermatitis can be physically and emotionally challenging. While treatment can help manage the symptoms, currently available therapies can be time-consuming--requiring multiple daily applications--and costly," said Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). "New, inexpensive therapies that require less frequent application are needed to expand the options available for atopic dermatitis treatment
A preclinical study carried out in eczema mouse models showed that treatment with R. Mucosa
isolates collected from the skin of healthy people improved disease outcomes in the animals. However, R. Mucosa
isolates from people with atopic dermatitis had no impact or worsened outcomes in the animal models.
‘Bacterial treatment with R. Mucosa strains could be a potential new treatment for atopic dermatitis.’
An early stage clinical trial was also conducted in human subjects to test the safety and potential benefit of the bacterial treatment containing live R. Mucosa.
The first experimental trial included 10 adults with
atopic dermatitis. The volunteers were asked to apply a solution of sugar water containing increasing doses of live R. Mucosa
twice a week for six weeks. The solution was sprayed onto their inner elbows and one additional skin area of their choice. The R. Mucosa
strains used in the solution was isolated from the skin of healthy individuals and grown under laboratory conditions.
The next trial included five volunteers aged 9 to 14 years with atopic dermatitis. The bacterial treatment was applied to all affected skin areas two times a week for 12 weeks and every other day for an additional four weeks.
The experimental trial results from both the adult and childhood patients showed that there are no complications or adverse effects from the treatment. Also, most patients reported improvements in their eczema and a reduced need for topical steroids. The treatment was also associated with decreases in the S. Aureus
population on the skin of children.
While the clinical trial results are promising, large scale studies are necessary to assess the effectiveness of this potential treatment for eczema. Reference:
- Ian A. Myles, Noah J. Earland, Erik D. Anderson, Ian N. Moore, Mark D. Kieh, Kelli W. Williams, ArhumSaleem, Natalia M. Fontecilla, Pamela A. Welch, Dirk A. Darnell, Lisa A. Barnhart, Ashleigh A. Sun, Gulbu Uzel, Sandip K.Datta.First-in-human topical microbiome transplantation with Roseomonas mucosa for atopic dermatitis, JCI Insight (2018). DOI: 10.1172/jci.insight.120608