With new research published today (15 February) in The Journal of Immunology, the team from Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry has found an important target that holds significant promise for millions of people suffering from allergies, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and a range of other inflammatory diseases. This work confirms that a key component of the body's own response to allergy-causing agents (allergens) can be targeted to reduce allergic reactions in mice.
At present, the majority of treatments for asthma and allergies focus on reducing symptoms such as an inflamed airway or runny nose and itchy eyes. Because allergies are essentially an over-the-top immune response to allergens (such as dust, peanuts, or insect bites), it is possible to give a treatment that dampens down the immune system. However this is very risky, leaving the person vulnerable to infection, and so is only used in the most extreme cases - for most people treatments that manage the symptoms of allergy are the best option. The BBSRC team led by Professor Bart Vanhaesebroeck has shown that by targeting a molecule called p110delta it is possible to interfere in the allergic reaction before symptoms occur, but without shutting down the immune system.
p110delta is a member of a family of eight proteins called PI3Ks, which control important biological functions. Their activity is implicated in many different diseases including cancer and they are an important target for drugs. However, drugs that act on all PI3K family members tend to be toxic in the body. For this reason Professor Vanhaesebroeck's team uses genetic techniques to find out which PI3K family members are linked to specific diseases. By gaining a better understanding of each PI3K they hope to target drugs more specifically and reduce the potential for side effects.
The p110gamma member of the PI3K family had previously been implicated in allergic reactions and was thought to be more important than p110delta. However, in the current study, Prof Vanhaesebroeck's team has confirmed that p110delta, but not p110gamma, is important for allergic reactions in a mouse model. These results will help to inform and drive decisions in industry to prioritise which PI3K family members should be targeted for further investment and development. The next step to develop p110delta blockers is now ongoing in industry, and is expected to proceed into the preclinical arena in humans in the near future.
Lead author of the study, Dr Khaled Ali said: "p110delta was first identified in 1997 and, and although we had our suspicions, at that time we had no idea how important it would turn out to be. This work shows that we have the potential to take control of the body's reaction to an allergen and prevent symptoms from occurring."
Professor Vanhaesebroeck added: "This work confirms our previous findings and shows once and for all that in an allergic reaction it is p110delta that is the key player among the PI3K molecules. We are very hopeful that a drug for human patients can be developed in the very near future. This approach offers the potential for therapies for asthma and allergies that target the real causes, not just symptoms."
Professor Nigel Brown, BBSRC Director of Science and Technology, said: "Allergies alone cause misery for millions every year and is of significant cost the UK due to lost productivity. This research, basic bioscience funded by BBSRC, together with industry collaboration could mean an entirely new way of dealing with asthma and allergies."
Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University
How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy