Atopic Dermatitis Effectively Treated With Topical Microbiome Transplantation

Sweat gland
Sweat gland
This finding could lead to the development of a low-cost atopic dermatitis therapy that does not require daily application.

Topical treatment with Roseomonas mucosa was associated with significant improvement and no reported adverse events in pediatric and adult patients with atopic dermatitis (AD), according to research published in JCI Insight.1

Ian A. Myles, from the Laboratory of Clinical Immunology and Microbiology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues evaluated the efficacy and safety of administration of R mucosa in 10 adult patients (NCT03018275). All participants had a SCORAD score of 10 or more, AD on the antecubital fossae and/or forearm area, and have been previously treated with standard care.

Sucrose solutions containing live R mucosa doses were topically applied twice weekly for 6 weeks with a subsequent 4-week washout phase. Patients received hands-on training on how to dispense the medication.

Treatment was associated with a significant reduction in disease severity, subjective regional pruritus, and antecubital-specific SCORAD. No adverse reactions were reported by the participants. No clinical benefit was seen in participants who applied the solution to their hands.

Based on the positive findings of the adult study, researchers enrolled 5 pediatric patients (age 9 to 14) to a 16-week, twice weekly treatment with the R mucosa sucrose solution. Treatment of pediatric atopic dermatitis with the solution was associated with significant improvement in SCORAD scores, pruritus, and steroid use. None of the pediatric patients reported any adverse effects.

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“By applying bacteria from a healthy source to the skin of people with atopic dermatitis, we aim to alter the skin microbiome in a way that will relieve symptoms and free people from the burden of constant treatment,” Dr Myles said in a statement.2

“If future clinical studies demonstrate that this strategy is effective, we hope our work will lead to development of new, low-cost atopic dermatitis therapies that do not require daily application.”

The NIH has licensed the technology to Forte Biosciences to advance this new therapy through further development.


  1. Myles IA, Earland NJ, Anderson ED, et al. First-in-human topical microbiome transplantation with Roseomonas mucosa for atopic dermatitis [published online May 3, 2018]. JCI Insight. doi:10.1172/jci.insight.120608
  2. Bacteria therapy for eczema shows promise in NIH study [press release]. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health. Published May 3, 2018. Accessed May 8, 2018.