King's College London - Scratching at a genetic problem

January 17, 2008

Researchers have discovered a gene abnormality that causes itchy skin. Itchy skin is one of the most common and least understood symptoms in dermatology. Until now, little had been known about itch mediators, receptors and pathways in the skin. As a result, treatments for relieving itchiness have been limited. A team based at King's College London that involves researchers from Brazil, South Africa and Japan has found genetic mutations that can cause the skin to itch. The researchers also looked at the inherited form of the disease known as familial primary localised cutaneous amyloidosis. The research is published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

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