One health issue I have dealt with all of my life is a skin condition known as eczema. To be clear, this skin condition is relatively minor in the grand scheme of health issues, however, it does affect millions of Americans and many millions more around the world. Specifically, eczema is an inflammatory skin reaction, similar to that of an allergy, and can flare up due to poor skin hydration, fragrances in soaps and shampoos, and excessive itching.
To deal with eczema, I’ve applied various recipes of special moisturizing creams and soaps throughout my life that have aimed to suppress inflammation and protect my immune system. Beyond the embarrassing aesthetic of irritated skin, the real danger of eczema is that an inflamed area of the skin is at risk of being infected by all of the bacteria that a city-living person experiences throughout their day. Once an infection begins, the immune system becomes seriously weakened as it fights chronic skin inflammation, in addition to a major infection.
So, with all of the aggravation that eczema causes, it has always been surprising to me that there have been few new treatments available beyond mostly steroidal moisturizing creams, which are not healthy for longterm use. Experimental treatments have been limited to light therapy, and not a single new molecular entity (NME) has been approved in the past 15 years. Not to worry, because this year two new NME’s are expected to receive FDA-approval:
Anacor’s cream, Crisaborole, and Regeneron’s drug, Dupilumab, are positioned to capture the market. It’s unclear yet which drug will receive approval first, and which drug will lead the market, however, Wall Street is already taking notice at multiple-billions of dollars in expected sales. The WSJ reported on eczema treatments again yesterday: New Eczema Treatments Could Be Available Soon (Hint: Pfizer, which announced it will acquire Anacor, and Regeneron, are both rated as strong growth stocks in the Biotech industry.)
Last Fall I visited with Dr. Guttman-Yassky in New York after I learned about her leading role on the Dupilumab clinical trial. While I did not end up applying for the trial, I am excited for the near future of new nonsteroidal eczema treatments that are healthy for longterm use.