Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) have developed a novel immunotherapy treatment that could reverse egg white and peanut allergic reactions in mice.
Interestingly, the immunotherapy technique is said to reduce anaphylactic responses by as much as 90 percent with just a single treatment. The recent discovery nearly eliminates food allergies in experimental mice, and people are voluntarily offering their cells to be used in the further studies, said John Gordon, the lead researcher of the study.
Moving forward, the technique would be tested in humanized mice, the mice without immune system that are implanted with immune system obtained from people that produce allergic responses to peanut and egg white.
Gordon noted that the first human trail could probably begin in a year. He also added that if the immunotherapy technique could treat food allergies and conditions such as multiple sclerosis and asthma, the therapy could be "life-changing" for people suffering from such anaphylactic reactions.
According to the study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the researchers used mature retinoic acid-skewed dendritic cells (DC-RAs) to test their ability to reverse allergic reaction in mice.
When DC-RAs specific for allergies were tested in mice, it was found that the anaphylactic responses to oral allergens including peanut and ovalbumin were cut down by 84 to 90 percent. In this technique, the specifically generated immune cells send signal to reverse the allergic reactions. The signal in turn triggers reactive cells to switch off along the immunological pathway.
Gordon, who is also a researcher at Allergy, Genes and Environment (AllerGen) Network, noted that the treatment could be made available for public use in next five to 10 years. Meanwhile, the pilot study for the new technique will be conducted by Gordon and his team in collaboration with AllerGen researchers from many leading universities in Canada.
The researcher added that if only 25 percent of people could be cured with the help of the new treatment, it is sure to improve health conditions of individuals as well as reduce their medical expenses significantly.
"This discovery portends a major breakthrough towards a therapeutic reversal of food allergen sensitivity," said Dr. Judah Denburg, scientific director and CEO of AllerGen, in press release. "The treatment prevents anaphylactic responses in what were previously fully sensitive mice, opening the door for translating this therapy into the clinic."
According to the researchers, the novel technique also shows promise for intervention of autoimmune diseases.