Metagenomic Biomarkers for Chronic Itch
Chronic itch or pruritis that lasts more than 6 weeks is one of the most challenging diseases to manage in the clinic. Current anti-pruritic treatments are largely ineffective and this is a reflection of our lack of understanding of the pathophysiology of itch. To date, very little is known about the epicutaneous, molecular markers associated with chronic itch severity in humans.
The tight comorbidity of chronic itch to common inflammatory skin diseases, atopic dermatitis (AD), allergic contact dermatitis (ACD), and psoriasis, provides a unique opportunity to directly investigate epicutaneous, molecular biomarkers in humans. We hypothesize that molecular biomarkers for chronic itch are defined as a set of transcriptional units (both messenger and micro RNAs) and resident bacteria that are upregulated and shared in skin lesions that chronically itch. We are currently using metagenomics to identify the biomarkers.