Allergies are caused due to hypersensitivity of
the immune system to an environmental trigger that may not affect most people
exposed to the same allergen
- Gene therapy for
allergy wipes out the memory of the protein of the allergen in the T cells
- The T cells will
subsequently not mount an immune reaction against the allergen
- This will offer
lifelong protection against allergies
. Antihistamines and
decongestants are available over the counter for relief from allergies;
however, they have to be taken often if the period of exposure to the allergen
occurs for a prolonged period. A research team from The University of
Queensland has developed a single treatment for allergy that could potentially
offer lifelong protection.
research team led by Dr. Ray Steptoe, an associate professor at the UQ
Diamantina Institute, has found a way of switching off the immune system and
preventing an allergic reaction. Dr. Steptoe said that an individual suffering
from an asthma flare up or any other allergic reaction could be undergoing the
immune reaction due to protein present in the allergen. One of the challenges
in finding a treatment for allergies is that T cells develop 'memory' that is
resistant to treatments.
‘Allergies are growing in severity and numbers but gene therapy could offer the essential cure.’
research team has now developed a method by which this 'memory' of the T cells
could be wiped out in animals using gene therapy, an effort to improve the
tolerance of the immune system by de-sensitizing it.
Developing Immunity Against Allergy
study carried out by the research team from The University of Queensland
utilized an experimental asthma
However, Dr. Steptoe said that the findings from this study could
be used for protection against shellfish,
bee venom and peanut allergies
also said that further pre-clinical studies needed to be carried out before
this study could be used in clinical trials.
involved in the development of immunity against the allergen were:
The Future of Allergy Therapy:
- Stem cells from
the blood were isolated and a gene
that is associated with regulation of allergy was inserted into them.
- These genetically
altered blood stem cells were then re-introduced into the study
- The genetically
modified cells produced blood cells that expressed a certain allergen
protein, targeting the immune system, which reversed the allergic
Steptoe stated that the final aim of the study is to develop a method by which
a single injected gene therapy could be used for therapy against allergy,
replacing the current treatments methods that are temporary. Though there still
are considerable steps involved before such a procedure will become available,
the research team is working on making it simpler.
research team is focusing its attention on individuals who suffer from extreme
allergy, like severe asthma or life threatening food allergies. The study was
initiated to find an effective method of treatment for the more than 2 million Australians
who have asthma.
Allergy Prevalence in India
at a steady pace in India, both in terms of numbers as well as in severity.
Some of the most common allergic reactions are:
- Food allergy
- Drug allergy
- Insect allergy
study carried out in Delhi approximately in 1964 reported that about 10% of the
Indian population had allergic rhinitis
and 1% had asthma
. A recent
analysis from 2015 has shown that 20 to 30% of the population suffers from
allergic rhinitis and 15% develop asthma. This comparison shows that the
incidence of allergies has risen dramatically in India.
fact, a multi-center population study was carried out by the Epidemiology of
Asthma, Respiratory Symptoms and Chronic Bronchitis
(INSEARCH) in 2012.
Twelve study centers were covered, in urban as well as rural areas.
study found that the prevalence of bronchial asthma was 2.05%,
while the prevalence rates of asthma among Indian
children was found to be 7.2ą5.4 %
is an increased need for the development of therapeutic strategies that control
the rise in the number of allergic reactions. The current study by reveals a
potential method of treatment of allergy that could limit the need for
Steptoe further stated that there are a number of challenges that are faced by
patients in self- management. While there are certain allergens that an
individual can safeguard against, like pet allergy or certain food allergies by
being cautious and removing the allergen, there are certain other allergens
that could be caused by environmental pollution which could be rampant. Such
allergens could give rise to frequent allergic reactions that could affect the
quality of life led by the individual.
single injection against allergy using gene therapy could potentially improve
allergy treatment and provide lifelong cure.
- Allergy - (https://medlineplus.gov/allergy.html)