New Eczema Treatment Fights Bacteria with More Bacteria

Microbiome produces natural antibiotics used to restore healthy balance on skin

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A new clinical trial at National Jewish Health uses lotion containing beneficial bacteria to fight the harmful bacteria on the skin of eczema patients. Researchers hope it will lead to a long-term solution for those suffering with the painful, itchy skin associated with the disease.

(DENVER, Colorado) – Eczema is the most common skin condition worldwide. Without effective treatment options, patients must often suffer a lifetime of painful, itchy skin. In a new clinical trial, researchers at National Jewish Health are exploring a surprising new approach – fighting bacteria with more bacteria.

It may seem counterintuitive to apply bacteria to skin that is frequently plagued by bacterial infections, but the hope is that by applying good bacteria in a lotion to eczema patients’ skin, a healthy bacterial balance will be restored. “The beneficial bacteria actually make natural antibiotics that kill staph aureus, the bad bacteria on the skin,” said Donald Leung, MD, head of the Division of Pediatric Allergy & Immunology at National Jewish Health. “We know that eczema patients don’t have the good bacteria on their skin that’s needed to kill staph aureus.”

Patients apply the bacteria-infused lotion twice a day. Researchers are then able to analyze patients’ skin DNA to see if the bad bacteria have been reduced. “The goal is that we eliminate the bad bacteria on their skin altogether,” said Leung. “The cream helps to restore the natural balance of bacteria on the skin, which will help create the barrier skin has to keep harmful bacteria out.”

Leung says more research is needed, but the hope is that this will clear the skin of eczema patients, and ultimately lead to a long-term solution for those who suffer from eczema.

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A new clinical trial at National Jewish Health uses lotion containing beneficial bacteria to fight the harmful bacteria on the skin of eczema patients. Researchers hope it will lead to a long-term solution for those suffering with the painful, itchy skin associated with the disease.

Donald Leung, MD, speaks with a patient at National Jewish Health about her eczema symptoms. Dr. Leung is leading a clinical trial that uses lotion containing good bacteria to kill the harmful bacteria on the skin of eczema patients.

Cassandra Rodriguez walks with her son in a park near their home in Arvada, Co. She has suffered with eczema her whole life and recently participated in a clinical trial testing a lotion that uses good bacteria to kill harmful bacteria commonly found on the skin of those with eczema.

Skin DNA from eczema patients is tested for harmful bacteria in a lab at National Jewish Health. It’s part of a clinical trial for a natural eczema treatment that uses beneficial bacteria to address the biologic cause of the chronic skin disease.

A researcher at National Jewish Health uses technology called PCR to analyze the amount of harmful bacteria on DNA from an eczema patient’s skin. It’s part of a clinical trial to test a new lotion containing beneficial bacteria that kills bad bacteria on the skin.

Donald Leung, MD consults with a colleague at National Jewish Health. Dr. Leung is leading a clinical trial to test a skin lotion containing beneficial bacteria that kills harmful bacteria on the skin of eczema patients.