The past few years have seen a large increase in nut allergies. There are many theories as to the origin of this spike in numbers. Some of which are controversial. There are the physiological effects due to the condition as well as potentially life-threatening risks.
Because there is a need for clinical intervention, researchers have searched for ways to develop therapies that can help prevent large-scale issues before their conception. Investigators from the University of Michigan’s Mary H. Weiser Food ALlergy Center released new findings. The findings show a therapeutic vaccine that could fully cure mice of their peanut allergy.
Breakthrough in Research on Nut Allergies
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology published findings of the new study. An article showed with three monthly doses of a nasal vaccine protected mice from their peanut allergies when presented with the nut. Curing peanut allergies in mice can redirect how immune cells take to peanuts in afflicted mice. This new approach sets off a new type of immune response that stops allergic symptoms.
Jessica O’Konek, the lead study author, says they are changing how immune cells respond when exposed to allergens. She goes on to say they can do so after an allergy is already established. This information helps provide a potential therapy for allergies for humans. Not only does the vaccine suppress the response, but it also prevents the cells to activate that would start the allergic reactions.
The hope is that down the road, this can be a step towards possible clinical trial to test for humans. For now, there will be more studies with the mice to get a better understanding of the mechanisms responsible for food allergy suppression. They also plan to learn if this protection can be lengthened for a more extended period.
As of now, the only FDA approved method of addressing food allergies is to avoid the food. That or to suppress the allergic reaction after they have already commenced. O’Konek says that their goal is to use immunotherapy to change the response of the immune system. They plan to do this by creating a therapeutic vaccine for food allergies.
Because there is so little research on the topic, there is much we can learn from the mice. Through this study, we can determine the process through which these allergies develop. There is also the possibility to discover what should change in the immune system to treat the allergies.