Researchers from the University of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and Johns Hopkins University have identified a single protein, named MRGPRB2, as the root cause of allergic reactions to drugs and injections. Researchers are now exploring ways to block the protein and reduce painful side effects caused by the reactions.
Every day in hospitals around the world, patients suffer painful allergic reactions known as pseudo-allergies to the medicines they are given. The reactions often cause itchiness, swelling and rashes, and can be so severe that doctors may stop patients from taking their needed medications and sometimes can even prove fatal. The exact reason of what triggers these allergic reactions still remains unknown.
The scientists tested lab models with and without the protein MRGPRB2 on their cells. They found that the lab models without the protein did not suffer negative effects despite being given drugs known to provoke reactions. Study co-author Benjamin McNeil said, "It's fortunate that all of the drugs turn out to trigger a single receptor, it makes that receptor an attractive drug target."
Researcher Marianna Kulka said, "We are in the very early stages but we now understand how these pseudo-allergies are happening. This is a very large step forward in many ways. By understanding how they're happening we can really help to avoid some of the pitfalls of designing drugs that cause the pseudo-allergies. We've got big plans in the future for trying to expand this [research] and better understand how this works."
The study is published in the journal Nature.