A newly discovered ‘wonder cream’ could help millions of patients with eczema, arthritis and a form of alopecia.
All three conditions are caused by an issue which causes the immune system to target the body’s healthy cells. Scientists looking for a way to help blood cancer patients have stumbled on a way to switch off that response.
Dr Aurore Saudemont, of the Anthony Nolan Research Institute, said: “This accidental discovery could offer a major breakthrough.
“These findings could eventually lead to treatments that eradicate symptoms of eczema, rheumatoid arthritis and even alopecia areata without causing major side effects.”
Over six millions Britons have eczema, four hundred thousand suffer crippling joint pain with rheumatoid arthritis and over a million have alopecia areata.
The Anthony Nolan experts were looking for a way to cure a complication that affects 80% of stem cell transplant patients. It happens when donated cells see existing cells as foreign and start to attack them. Researchers made a breakthrough when they found a protein in umbilical cord blood that stops a pregnant mum’s immune system attacking the unborn baby.
They studied cord blood donated by new mums, while stem cells were harvested from the umbilical cords.
Dr Saudemont added: “It is very exciting to discover that a product usually discarded could be so valuable.”