Duke Anesthesiology’s Drs. Sven-Eric Jordt and Boyi Liu, along with scientists at Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, have discovered a strategy to stop the uncontrollable itch caused by an oily sap, common to poison ivy, poison sumac, poison oak and mango trees.
According to a news release from Duke Health, the research team found that by blocking an immune system protein in the skin with an antibody, they could halt the processes that tell the brain the skin is itchy. The research was done in mice and is described in the November 7, 2016 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
This cutting-edge research, which could lead to treatments for those allergic to poison ivy (an estimated 80 percent of the population), made national headlines on CBS News, U.S. News & World Report, HealthDay, STAT, Scientific American, and Univision.
Dr. Jordt is the senior author of the study and director of the Chemical Sensing, Pain and Inflammation Research Laboratory at Duke Anesthesiology. This research was supported with funding from Dr. Liu’s 2015 DREAM Innovation Grant. These grants support innovative high-risk and potentially high-reward investigations to accelerate anesthesia and pain management research – a key component of Duke Anesthesiology’s DREAM Campaign.