Scientists from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia have made a molecular discovery, which they claim, might shed light on extreme allergic reactions in some people and offer up a new treatment for the growing problem.
The team conducted experiments in a laboratory test tube and found that allergic conditions like asthma might be triggered by a "clash" between two molecules in the immune system.
One of the two molecules was already known to be very important in allergies. However, the finding - that the other molecule is also involved, and that the two react to each other - has been labelled "very exciting" by allergy experts.
"People with allergies tend to have high levels of an antibody called IgE in their blood," News.com.au quoted lead researcher Stuart Tangye, from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, as saying.
"We have discovered there are actually not one but two molecules that are instructing the body to make high levels of these antibodies, and it is actually the interaction between the two that's important."
Andrew Kemp, an allergic specialist at The Children's Hospital Westmead, Sydney, said the results were encouraging at a time when allergy rates were rising increasingly.
"What they're showing here is just in the test tube at this stage and in theory it's exciting," Dr Kemp said.
"But we've had molecular targets in the past that we thought would be very beneficial, one in particular for asthma, that haven't turned out to work that well as a drug," he added.