When I talked to Donald Leung earlier this week (he's head of pediatric allergy & immunology at National Jewish Health, and leads the Atopic Dermatitis Research Network) he mentioned one interesting result that has already emerged from a small-scale ADRN trial. Leung and others showed that patients with atopic dermatitis were not adequately protected, by FDA standards, by the new influenza vaccine Fluzone.
Fluzone is administered using a super-short needle--the technique is called "intradermal" injection in which the vaccine gets squirted into the upper skin layers rather than muscle tissue.
Presumably the super-short needle is less scary than a regular needle, and more people will get their flu vaccinations this way; it could be a public health issue in the event of a flu pandemic.
Scientists know that the immune system functions differently in the skin of patients with eczema. Leung and colleagues looked at how 20 eczema patients fared with Fluzone, compared to 20 non-atopic patients. Twenty-eight days after vaccination, they measured the levels of flu antibodies in the patients' blood. The non-atopic patients met the FDA standard; the eczema patients did not.
The scientists published their results in a preliminary form as an abstract at the meeting earlier this year of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.