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 South African laboratory study using Covid-19 samples from an immunosupressed individual over six months showed that the virus evolved to become more pathogenic, indicating that a new variant could cause worse illness than [...]
For the past several months, Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 have dominated COVID-19 cases in the U.S. But now, there’s a class of new COVID subvariants on the rise and one in particular is getting plenty of [...]
Nucleic acid therapies involving DNA or RNA have significant potential to treat genetic disorders, infectious diseases, and cancer; however, research suggests that less than 1% of injected nucleic acid doses reach target cells in [...]
The US Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved Hemgenix, a new drug to treat hemophilia. Manufacturer CSL Behring set the price at $3.5 million per treatment, making it the most expensive drug [...]
Some wounds just won’t heal. Infections, diseases like diabetes, and suppressed immune systems often stack up to slow healing. Chronic wounds can last months and lead to anxiety and depression. In the worst cases, [...]
Over the years, researchers have tried hard to comprehend topographic signals that promote cell mechanical sensitive responses. The extracellular matrix (ECM) provides a complex cellular microenvironment that controls cellular behavior. Nevertheless, only a few [...]
There is now an imminent threat of measles spreading in various regions globally, as COVID-19 led to a steady decline in vaccination coverage and weakened surveillance of the disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) [...]
In a recent study, it was shown that people with long Covid have had physical changes to their brains several months after experiencing the initial infection. The study included MRIs of patients who continued [...]
Western University in London, Ont., is building a unique research lab to study humanity's greatest viral threats — a secret weapon, if you will, one that it's expected would put Canada and the world in a better position if [...]
Cancer patients are testing a medicine made of antibodies that were designed from scratch on a computer in Israel and whose inventor has “programmed” them to “decide” whether cells surrounding tumors are bad or good. [...]
In an article published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers presented the potentiostatic deposition used to electrodeposit nickel (Ni) and nickel-graphene (Ni-G) films on copper substrates. Myristic acid (MA) was employed to alter the plane of the [...]
Oregon State University scientists have invented a way to make magnetic nanoparticles that get hotter than any previous nanoparticle, improving their cancer fighting ability. Faculty from the OSU College of Pharmacy spearheaded a collaboration [...]
November 14, 2022 -- Researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have developed a nanotechnology platform that changes the immune system's perception of solid tumor cells, making them more receptive to immunotherapy. [...]
Nanotechnology platform enables immune conversion of cancer cells, sensitizing them to immunotherapy
A team of researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has developed a nanotechnology platform that can change the way the immune system sees solid tumor cells, making them more receptive [...]
Researchers learn to engineer growth of crystalline materials consisting of nanometer-size gold clusters
First insights into engineering crystal growth by atomically precise metal nanoclusters have been achieved in a study performed by researchers in Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Finland. The work was published in Nature Chemistry ("Supercrystal engineering of [...]