Researchers from the University of Queensland, Australia, have discovered a way to defend asthma. In a study published in JCI Insight, they presented a gene therapy which can switch off allergic reactions. Therefore, by making small changes in the DNA, a person can escape allergies and be cured of the diseases deriving from them.
- Researchers stopped the immune response to allergens in animals.
- They did this by altering the DNA in T-cells.
- The next step is to develop a general treatment for allergy symptoms.
During an experiment, researchers were able to stop allergic reactions in animals by turning off the immune response which triggers them. When a creature exhibits an allergic response, these symptoms are produced by a reaction of the immune system to the proteins found in the allergen in question.
So far, the problem with allergies and asthma has been that they have been kept in the immune ‘memory’. T-cells, which are responsible with exhibiting the immune responses, can keep track of all allergens which trigger reactions.
Therefore, when the organism is confronted with the allergen again, the T-cells are activated and respond with allergy symptoms. Also, they become highly resistant to treatments. However, researchers managed to erase this memory in animals.
Researchers used gene therapy and made animal T-cells less sensitive to allergen proteins, and the immune system no longer reacted. They used an experimental asthma allergen, but they think the same technique can be applied to treat severe allergies to shell fish, bee venom, peanuts, or many other substances.
Now, researchers plan to test this gene therapy on human cells. Their final goal would be to develop an injectable treatment which can deal with several kinds of allergies and is more effective against the symptoms than any other short-term medication.
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