For about one in 13 children in the U.S., normally harmless foodstuffs such as milk, eggs and peanuts can send the body’s natural defenses into overdrive.
Symptoms of food allergies can vary widely, but at worst, a systemwide allergic response can lead to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition characterized by a sudden drop in blood pressure and difficulty breathing.
Although there are now some preventive measures for food-induced anaphylaxis, there are not yet any long-lasting solutions—treatments capable of locking the immune system into a state of tolerance, so that it doesn’t respond to allergens.
Now, a UCLA research team has developed a possible way to impart long-term relief from allergies by inducing an active state of immune tolerance.
The technology uses a nanoparticle—a particle so small that it’s measured on the scale of billionths of a meter—to deliver proteins to specific cells in the liver. Those proteins may trigger an allergic response in other organs in the body, but in the liver, they cause the targeted cells to activate a tolerant immune response that switches the allergic response off.
A report on the research, published in ACS Nano, indicates that the platform is effective in preventing allergic reactions to an egg protein when ingested or inhaled. The UCLA researchers also showed that delivering a single piece of a protein that triggers allergies is sufficient to ameliorate the allergic reaction.
“Huge numbers of people suffer from food allergies, amounting to billions of dollars in annual health care costs,” said co-corresponding author Dr. André Nel, director of the University of California’s Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology, or CEIN, and director of research at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. “Normally, asthma and anaphylaxis are treated with an EpiPen syringe as well as anti-inflammatory and immune-suppressive drugs that only provide transient relief. For the problem to go away long-term, we’re looking at the liver to reprogram the immune system to an actively sustained state of nonresponsiveness.”
The liver is an immune-privileged organ, meaning that it is programmed not to respond to foreign proteins called antigens, which can cause allergic or anaphylactic responses elsewhere in the body. The platform developed by Nel and his colleagues spurs the liver to produce regulatory T cells, cells in the immune system that can go everywhere in the body, to calm allergic responses to food allergens.
Image Credit: University of California, Los Angeles
A research review led by Oxford Brookes University has found a large proportion of COVID-19 survivors will be affected by neuropsychiatric and cognitive complications. Psychologists at Oxford Brookes University and a psychiatrist from Oxford [...]
A safe, fast and cheap testing method that uses magnetic nanoparticles to detect viruses in both clinical and wastewater samples has been developed by KAUST researchers. The centrifuge-free approach is compatible with magnetic bead-based [...]
The COVID-19 virus holds some mysteries. Scientists remain in the dark on aspects of how it fuses and enters the host cell; how it assembles itself; and how it buds off the host cell. [...]
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted considerable investigation into how the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein attaches to a human cell during the infection process, as this knowledge is useful in designing vaccines and therapeutics. Now, a [...]
Scientists have developed protein fragments—called peptides—that fit snugly into a groove on the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein that it would normally use to access a host cell. These peptides effectively trick the virus into "shaking hands" with a replica rather than with [...]
HSE University researchers have become the first in the world to discover genetic predisposition to severe COVID-19. The results of the study were published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology. T-cell immunity is one of [...]
When SARS-CoV-2 first began spreading across the globe, not every lab was equipped to study it directly. The virus behind the current pandemic is highly pathogenic and transmissible, leading the US Centers for Disease [...]
esearchers have detailed a mechanism in the distinctive corona of Covid-19 that could help scientists to rapidly find new treatments for the virus, and quickly test whether existing treatments are likely to work with [...]
Almost half of people testing positive for coronavirus have reported symptoms of depression, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Researchers from Bangladesh, the United States [...]
A team of investigators from the Republic of China has discovered that 6 drugs previously approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for other indications could be repurposed to treat or prevent [...]
Graphene is a layer of carbon only one atom thick. Since it was first isolated in 2004, it has found applications in strengthening materials, accelerating electronics, and boosting performance in batteries, among others. It [...]
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has yielded an unexpected advancement in the pharmaceutical industry with the approval of the first mRNA vaccines, which GlobalData expects will soon impact other indications. This historical landmark could have [...]
A single dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine is “highly protective” after three weeks, according to a study. Researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) said the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech was still effective [...]
Summary: Mice exposed to COVID-19 through the nasal passage, researchers noted a rapid and escalated attack on the brain by the virus that triggered a more severe outcome of the infection, even after the lungs [...]