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Agilent, UK Academic Researchers Investigate Risk Factors for Eczema

NEW YORK – Agilent Technologies said on Thursday it has partnered with the University of Sheffield and the University of Manchester to help clinicians identify risk factors and administer the most effective treatment for atopic eczema. 

As part of the collaboration, the UK-based researchers will use the Santa Clara, California-based firm's Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIS) mass spectrometry platform as part of a study called Skin Testing for Atopic eczema Risk (STAR). As part of it, the researchers are monitoring 175 infants during their first year of life for signs of eczema to learn how skin matures as well as identify those who may have the highestrisk of developing eczema..  

Agilent noted that it has developed a prototype sampling approach, built around its 4300 Handheld FTIR, that allows researchers to work noninvasively on patients. 

The UK researchers believe that the early identification of high-risk babies may help prevent the development of eczema and other inflammatory skin disorders. 

"A growing body of evidence suggests a critical role for the skin barrier in the development and course of atopic eczema," Simon Danby, a research fellow in the Sheffield Dermatology Research group at U. of Sheffield and the lead researcher for the STARstudy, in a statement. "A greater understanding of the skin barrier optimization from birth promises to identify susceptible individuals early on, enable novel therapeutic options to improve standards of neonatal skin care, and prevent clinical eczema development."

Financial details of the partnership were undisclosed.

"Apart from the importance of early identification of high-risk babies, the STAR study also provides a comprehensive dataset of skin care practices from birth, which will inform consistency in clinical practice for newborn skin care," Alison Cooke, study co-investigator at the University of Manchester, added.