• Queen Mary University of London
  • Barts Health NHS
  • Bradford NHS
  • Manchester Uni

S00031: Tower Hamlets Eczema Assessment (THEA)

Investiagor:  Prof Edel O'Toole

Institution: Queen Mary University of London


Please provide information on the aims of the proposed research including the research question(s) that you are aiming to answer and the health condition(s) under investigation

Eczema is a common itchy skin disease that is often mild, but can be widespread and severe, making people unwell and requiring admission to hospital. We have found that eczema is more often severe in people of Bangladeshi heritage, more often needing powerful medicines to suppress the immune system or even admission to hospital due to infection.

The severity of a patient’s eczema may be affected by their genes, and by factors in their environment or upbringing, like exposure to types of air pollution. How these genetic and environmental factors change the severity of eczema is not yet known. We aim to understand why some patients will have more severe disease and others will ‘grow out’ of their disease, and to be able to predict what will happen to individual patients based on information about their genes and their upbringing.


How will your research improve health?

Understanding more about eczema and being able to predict which patients might develop severe disease will help to improve the management of eczema. Doctors will be better able to improve peoples’ quality of life by targeting the right treatments and preventative steps to patients who will benefit.


Please give a non-technical description of how the research will be undertaken

This project is part of the Tower Hamlets Eczema Assessment (THEA), which recruits patients with eczema at the Royal London Hospital. We will use information from Genes & Health volunteers who don’t have eczema to compare against THEA participants who do have eczema.


How does your research meet the other purposes of Genes & Health?

THEA is looking at eczema in the East London Bangladeshi population, and like Genes & Health, is trying to expand research in the South Asian population.