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Medical News & Perspectives
September 18, 2018

Are Bacteria Transplants the Future of Eczema Therapy?

JAMA. 2018;320(11):1094-1095. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.12334

A few years ago, LCDR Ian A. Myles, MD, got a hunch about eczema, an itchy, infection-prone inflammatory skin disease that affects 13% of children and 7% of adults in the United States. Looking at research articles, Myles, who is a chief medical officer of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and an immunologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), noticed an overlap in regions of the body colonized by gram-negative bacteria—the elbow folds, the backs of the knees, around the neck, and on the hands—and those frequently affected by eczema. This got him and a colleague thinking: Could these types of bacteria, which weren’t generally associated with skin conditions, have something to do with this one?