Tailoring a powerful, immune-suppressing drug to individual patients may bring safe relief to adults and children afflicted with atopic eczema, British researchers report.
As reported by the BBC, The drug, called azathioprine, was first developed 40 years ago to help suppress organ rejection in kidney transplant recipients.
Doctors soon realised it might help subdue painful eczema flare-ups, but the drug's effects on the immune system meant that it has only been used as a last resort, and only in adults.
Now, researchers at the University of Newcastle say they have matched doses of azathioprine to levels of a particular enzyme, called TPMT, in patients' blood.
In a study involving 63 patients, this tailored approach gave patients several months of sustained relief, without major side effects.
"We have shown for the first time that, if we can get the dose right, the safety of the drug improves significantly," researcher Dr Simon Meggitt, a consultant dermatologist, told the BBC. – (HealthDayNews)
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