Canadian researchers find new approach to treating eczema

ESC Research Grant Recipient discovers key enzyme that contributes to atopic dermatitis

Researchers at University of British Colombia’s faculty of medicine have discovered a key enzyme that contributes to the inflammation and barrier dysfunction associated with atopic dermatitis. By understanding this enzyme, new treatments may be developed to help prevent AD’s debilitating symptoms, such as itch.

Led by Dr. David Granville, the study examined the Granzyme B enzyme, which is linked with itchiness and diseases severity in AD and is known to weaken the skin barrier. Dr Granville and his team were recipients of ESC’s 2019 Research Grant Program, a program which helps facilitate eczema research projects in Canada.

“Atopic dermatitis can have a significant quality of life, financial, and social impact on the lives of Canadians, and flare-ups can hold people back from going to work or even out in public,” said Dr. Granville,  Professor at UBC’s department of pathology and laboratory medicine and researcher at the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI). “Our study examines a novel therapeutic approach which targets an enzyme that impacts the very earliest stages of dermatitis where the skin’s protective barrier is disrupted. When the enzyme was inhibited, we were able to significantly reduce the loss of barrier function and dermatitis severity. We appreciate ESC’s support in helping us research new treatment options that will hopefully help patients living with atopic dermatitis.”

ESC Executive Director Amanda Cresswell-Melville added: “We congratulate Dr. Granville and the team at UBC for this exciting development. We are very proud of our Research Grant Program. All donations received by ESC support these grants, and I think it is exciting for our community to see tangible progress being made in atopic dermatitis and eczema research. We are also grateful for researchers, like Dr. Granville and our other grant recipients, for dedicating their time and expertise to improving care for eczema sufferers.”

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