Yale scientists highlight a promising eczema study for Pfizer's Xeljanz

Yale scientists successfully tried out Pfizer's rheumatoid arthritis drug Xeljanz (tofacitinib) on a small group of people suffering from severe, treatment-resistant eczema, highlighting its added promise after the drug also demonstrated its potential in fighting two other skin conditions.

Dr. Brett King

Yale's Dr. Brett King believed that the drug would interrupt the immune response that causes eczema. So he tried it on 6 people who weren't benefiting from currently used therapies and found a significant reduction in itching and other symptoms of the disease. Patients also reported better sleep routines, one of the chief improvements that patients are looking for.

"These individuals were not only very happy with the results, they also expressed a tremendous sense of relief at being comfortable in their skin for the first time in many years," King said.

King and his colleague Dr. Brittany Craiglow have already cited success using Xeljanz against alopecia areata, an autoimmune-related form of hair loss, and vitiligo, which can leave widespread irregular white patches all over the body.

"Eczema affects millions of children and adults in the United States," said King. "I'm hopeful we are entering a whole new era in treatment."

Pfizer ($PFE) is likely to chime in on that hope. The pharma giant has been able to push sales along since the original 2012 approval for rheumatoid arthritis, but sales have been much slower than the company was hoping for. At one time Xeljanz was a $3-billion-per-year prospect.

Pfizer has recently been advancing a more convenient daily dose of the oral drug as well as work on psoriasis.

- here's the release
- read the research abstract

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