Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Notre Dame researchers make progress toward a treatment for dangerous allergies

New research published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology shows that a group of scientists, led by faculty at the University of Notre Dame, has made concrete progress toward the development of the first-ever inhibitory therapeutic for Type I hypersensitive allergic reactions.

"Our allergy inhibition project is innovative and significant because we brought a novel molecular design approach to selectively inhibit mast cell degranulation — the key event in triggering a food allergic response — which has the potential to improve the quality of life for affected patients," said Basar Bilgicer, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Notre Dame and an investigator in the University's Advanced Diagnostics & Therapeutics initiative.

Allergic reactions are caused when a person's immune system reacts to normally harmless substances in the environment. An allergic reaction can be the source of a simple itch or sneezing; however, Type I hypersensitive allergic reactions can go as far as a life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Mast cells, which are a type of white blood cell, function to protect the body from harmful pathogens such as parasites. In Type I hypersensitive allergic conditions, mast cells show a response to otherwise harmless substances (allergens) and result in severe, even potentially lethal, symptoms. The most common examples to Type I hypersensitivity are food allergies, such as to peanuts or shellfish, which affect 15 million Americans and approximately 8 percent of children.

Through the new research, Bilgicer and his group designed a special molecule, called a heterobivalent inhibitor (HBI), which when introduced into a person's bloodstream can, in essence, out-compete allergens like egg or peanut proteins in their race to attach to mast cell receptors.

"Unlike current treatments, such as epinephrine, which help a body endure through an allergic reaction, our HBIs, if introduced into the bloodstream, would actually stop further progression of the allergic reaction from taking place," said Bilgicer.

"We are figuring out the optimum binding sites on the mast cell receptors to attach to, in order to prevent allergens from interacting with them and to prevent the allergic reaction before it even starts in the first place."

The team has demonstrated the effectiveness of their inhibitor molecule on allergic reaction using animal models of allergy. Their next set of targets are a variety of allergens that affect humans — including peanuts, penicillin and dust mites — and they will design HBIs that would be successful inhibitors for each.

The University of Notre Dame's Advanced Diagnostics & Therapeutics initiative creates technologies and tools to combat disease, promote health and safeguard the environment. AD&T's investigators focus on the common purpose of advancing micro- and nanoscale research to improve lives around the world.

Basar Bilgicer | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht North and South Cooperation to Combat Tuberculosis
22.03.2018 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein
22.03.2018 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion

22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>