"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!
'Y' a protein unicorn might matter in glaucoma
23.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology
Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry
23.10.2017 | Rice University
Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
23.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
23.10.2017 | Life Sciences
23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine