Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

‘Knockout’ technique tested successfully on mice

27.06.2007
No more choking and burning eyes? Hebrew University Ph.D. Student develops new approach to eliminating allergies, asthma

Allergies, like the common cold and asthma, have basically defied the best efforts of modern medicine to cure them. Now, a doctoral candidate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem School of Pharmacy has come up with a new approach that offers hope for getting rid of them.

For his efforts, Chilean-born Ido Bachelet, a first cousin of the president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, and a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Prof. Francesca Levi-Schaffer, has been named the winner of one of this year’s Barenholz Prizes for Creativity and Originality in Applied Research. The award, named for its donor, Yehezkel Barenholz, the Dr. Daniel G. Miller Professor of Cancer Research at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, was presented recently during the Hebrew University Board of Governors 70th meeting.

Bachelet’s research has focused on mechanisms that regulate the function of mast cells – the “villains” in triggering allergic reactions. When exposed to allergens, mast cells react violently and release an enormous array of pro-inflammatory substances, of which histamine is a well known example. These substances lead to acute symptoms ranging from stuffy nose, rash, and airway constriction to the lethal shock known from food or venom allergies. Later on, they attract inflammatory cells that will maintain the response, which often persists as a chronic disease.

Although allergies are usually not perceived as lethal, reality is different. In 2005, over 250,000 people died from asthma worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that this rate will increase by 20 percent within the next decade if urgent action is not taken. Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children.

Bachelet has identified a receptor protein on mast cells, termed CD300a. This receptor has a prominent negative effect on mast cell activity, virtually shutting down the cell from unleashing allergic responses. Unfortunately, CD300a is widely found throughout the immune system, and simply targeting it could result in undesired, overall immune suppression with serious consequences, as can happen with steroids.

In order to overcome this problem, Bachelet and his research colleague, Ariel Munitz, have designed a small, synthetic, antibody fragment that has the unusual ability of recognizing two targets simultaneously -- the receptor CD300a and a mast cell-specific marker. Thus, the antibody targets CD300a only on the surface of mast cells, avoiding suppression of other immune cells. This antibody potently eliminated four different types of allergic diseases in mice. Moreover, when mice suffering from severe chronic asthma received the antibody in nose drops, they completely reverted to normal, healthy mice in less than two months.

This pioneering project, termed RECEPTRA, presents a novel therapeutic strategy for acute and chronic allergic diseases, and is currently being licensed through Yissum, the Hebrew University’s technology transfer company, to pharmaceutical companies for further development and eventual clinical trials.

Based on its enormous potential, Bachelet and his team predict that with further development, their technology will become the first line of allergy therapy in the near future.

For further information:
Jerry Barach,
Dept. of Media Relations,
the Hebrew University,
Tel: 02-588-2904, or
Orit Sulitzeanu,
Hebrew University spokesperson,
Tel: 02-5882910 or 052-260-8016.

Jerry Barach | The Hebrew University of Jerusal
Further information:
http://media.huji.ac.il

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

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...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

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...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>