Scratching the Five-Year ItchPublication of this editorial will mark the mid-point of my fifth (and final) year as Editor of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology (JID). This experience has met my expectations in many ways, and I am thankful to have been selected to be the JID’s Editor. However, there is a fair amount of work involved, and with experience, some of it has become routine. Against this background, it is delightful to have the opportunity to introduce a thematic section of the Journal that highlights a research area (itch) that features recent progress that is already clinically relevant.
The Sensation of Itch: From Biological Discovery to Medical TreatmentItch is an evolutionarily conserved sensation in vertebrates, and in its acute form, elicits a scratching reflex to expel environmental irritants such as insects, parasites, and toxins. However, in its chronic form, itch becomes highly debilitating and pathologic. Although originally considered a mild form of pain, the discovery of itch-specific molecular and cellular pathways in the last 15 years have greatly emboldened itch biology as a distinct field of inquiry (Wang and Kim, 2020). Furthermore, the unprecedented success of numerous therapeutics in this nascent field has drawn tremendous interest in solving the central symptom of itch across a number of medical disorders.