World first: Melbourne researchers work on gel to treat eczema

A world-first trial in Melbourne is hoping to provide relief for severe eczema sufferers the anti-inflammatory properties found in cannabis.

It's hoped the once-daily gel will bring relief for 68-year-old Dallas Howgate eczema whose battle began two years ago.

He has tried most creams and options to battle his itchiness - but none successfully.

“It’s all a temporary relief,” he said. "It's like having mozzie bites all over."

Patient Dallas Howgate with dermatologist Rod Sinclair . Source: 7 News.
Mr Howgate is hoping the new gel will help stop the itch. Source: 7 News

The retiree is hoping a new trial using the anti-inflammatory properties of the cannabis plant will finally stop the itch.

Dermatologist Rod Sinclair, who's heading the trial, said some eczema sufferers can't get their itches scratched with standard creams.

“Cortisone creams are highly effective for the vast majority of people with eczema but there are some who don’t respond, or do respond but relapse as soon as you stop it," he said.

Eczema sufferers may soon have relief using a once-daily gel. Source: 7 News

“Eczema is undergoing a bit of a revolution in that we’re now starting to understand the molecular basis of eczema, down to the individual molecules driving inflammation in the skin.”

One in three people will be affected by eczema at some point in their lives.

One in three people will be affected by eczema at some stage in their life. Source: 7 News

A change in temperature, pollen, and even clothes can cause the condition to flare up.

More sufferers are needed for the six-month trial by Botanix Pharmaceuticals, with results expected mid-2018.

The new gel trial results will be available in mid-2018. Source: 7 News

“To have new botanical agents that have sufficiently strong anti-inflammatory properties that would settle down eczema would be a major breakthrough.”

To apply for the trial go to the Sinclair Dermatology website.