Childhood Eczema: An Environmental Scan

Table of Contents

4.0 DISCUSSION: SUPPORTING ECZEMA RESEARCH AND ACTIVITIES

4.1 Introduction

The preceding section of the report was provided to provide context on particular research activities, important aspects of the etiology of treatment of childhood eczema and to give a holistic understanding of the disease from various perspectives. This section of the report will present a discussion aimed at incorporating findings of the environmental scan, information derived through the key informant interviews and other relevant knowledge.

4.2 Areas of focus

Funding for research globally comes from a variety of organizations such as Government departments, specific academic research centres, non-profit organizations, and industry such as pharmaceutical biotechnical. Research initiatives globally regarding eczema and allergies has had a cellular and molecular focus. Current research initiatives into eczema as reported by the National Institute of Health in the US are in: biochemical processes surrounding white blood cells, immunology, treatment options such as light therapy and drug research along with investigations in Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium common in skin infections secondary to eczema (see Appendix I: ‘Snapshot of Global Funding Initiatives’ for an in-depth summary of projects globally).

There is consensus in the literature and among clinicians and researchers that available funding for eczema is under-resourced compared to other chronic diseases and even within atopic conditions “… [t]here is also an imbalance of funding for research into allergic conditions…asthma tends to receive the majority of research funding, whereas Professor Gawkrodger, in the UK, noted that “there is insufficient research on the subject of eczema and atopic dermatitis” (47;48;54). A document titled: Overview of Food Allergy Funding: from the National Institute of Health stated research into food allergies is allocated approximately 7 million dollars per year out of a total annual budget of 28 million.

A difficult barrier concerning research in the area of childhood eczema is the lack of a clear, collectively understood definition of atopic dermatitis. Our key informant, Dr. B. Krafchic emphasized this point and stated it was imperative that researchers and clinicians, who are experts in this field must work together to develop a comprehensive definition for use in the area of research. Without at best a working definition, the research completed is difficult to replicated, understand, translate and compare – very important issues in research methodology in terms of making progress regardless of either the findings or specific focus of individual studies.