There may be an upside for people who suffer with eczema. New research shows the skin condition could reduce the risk of developing skin cancer.
Scientists with King's College London have discovered the immune-system response triggered by eczema could help prevent tumor formation by shedding potentially cancerous cells from the skin.
The study, involving experiments with mice and published in the journal eLife, is among the first to suggest that allergic reactions may in fact offer some protection against certain types of cancer.
"We are excited by our findings as they establish a clear link between cancer susceptibility and an allergic skin condition in our experimental model. They also support the view that modifying the body's immune system is an important strategy in treating cancer," said Fiona Watt, director of the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine.
"I hope our study provides some small consolation to eczema sufferers – that this uncomfortable skin condition may actually be beneficial in some circumstances."
Skin cancer accounts for one in every three cancers diagnosed worldwide, and the number of cases is rising, according to the World Health Organization.
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