By Angela Long
A major breakthrough in diagnosis and treatment of eczema
has been made by Trinity College researchers.
Their work also suggests that Irish people tend to be more
predisposed to eczema, a group of itching and sore skin complaints, than
A team from the School of Medicine, working with scientists
from the University of Dundee, has identified genetic mutations which are
thought to cause eczema.
The discovery could be very important for treating children
who show signs of eczema.
Nearly 200 Irish children took part in the research.
Data from Irish patients showed that five different mutations
in a gene called filaggrin were much more common in children with eczema
than in the general population.
Although around one in 10 people of European origin carry
one of the mutations, the study found that around half of the Irish eczema
patients had it.
The find by the team of researchers have just been published
in the international journal, Nature Genetics.
Paediatric dermatologist, Dr Alan Irvine of the TCD Department
of Clinical Medicine, led the research, in conjunction with Professor Irwin
McLean at the University of Dundee’s College of Medicine.
"Having a filaggrin mutation confers a very high risk
of eczema - a 65% chance with one filaggrin mutation and a 90% chance with
two filaggrin mutations," Dr Irvine said.
"This new research now provides a target for direct
intervention and the development of new therapeutic approaches."
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