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 Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

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: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

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...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

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....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

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...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

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...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>