Bacteria therapy for eczema shows promise in new study

Bacteria therapy for eczema shows promise in new study

Initial bacterial treatment for atopic dermatitis shows promise in a new US study. The trial demonstrated that the treatment was safe for adults and children with atopic dermatitis (eczema) and was associated with reduced disease severity.


The new findings, published May 3 in JCI Insight, support further evaluation of this potential new therapy.


Bacteria from a healthy source


This is an ongoing early-phase clinical trial at the National Institutes of Health.

Recent work by NIAID researchers using mouse and cell culture models of atopic dermatitis revealed that treatment with isolates of R. mucosa collected from the skin of healthy people improved disease outcomes in the models. In contrast, R. mucosa isolates from people with atopic dermatitis either had no impact or worsened outcomes in the models.


Based on these preclinical findings, NIAID investigators designed an early stage clinical trial to test the safety and potential benefit of a treatment containing live R. mucosa in people with atopic dermatitis. The Phase 1/2 study is being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.


Ian Myles and colleagues evaluate safety and efficacy of topical administration of R. mucosa in a small cohort of adults and children with atopic dermatitis. Overall, R. mucosa treatment was considered safe and reduced disease severity in both children and adults. The results from this initial study supports further evaluation of topical R. mucosa for treating atopic dermatitis.


No adverse reactions or complications


By applying bacteria from a healthy source to the skin of people with atopic dermatitis, we aim to alter the skin microbiome in a way that will relieve symptoms and free people from the burden of constant treatment," said NIAID's Ian Myles, M.D., the principal investigator of the trial.


If future clinical studies demonstrate that this strategy is effective, we hope our work will lead to development of new, low-cost atopic dermatitis therapies that do not require daily application."

Learn more in the VIDEO


6 weeks treatment


The researchers first tested the experimental treatment in 10 adult volunteers with atopic dermatitis. Twice a week for six weeks, the volunteers sprayed a solution of sugar water containing increasing doses of live R. mucosa onto their inner elbows and one additional skin area of their choice. The R. mucosa strains included in the treatment were originally isolated from the skin of healthy individuals and grown under carefully controlled laboratory conditions. Participants were instructed to continue their normal eczema treatments, including topical steroids and other medications.