Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Allergies may help in fighting brain tumors

19.10.2011
Subjects with somewhat elevated levels of antibodies produced to fight allergens were less likely to go on to develop brain tumors, according to a new study. The study adds to evidence from prior studies, but some questions still remain.

A study published online Oct. 18 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute provides some new but qualified support for the idea that the immune system’s response to allergies may reduce the risk of developing deadly brain tumors.

“These results suggest that there is something different about the immune response to tumor cells in people with allergies.”People with somewhat elevated blood levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE), antibodies that carry out the body’s immune response to allergens, were significantly less likely to develop gliomas, and those who did survived somewhat longer, than those with clinically normal IgE levels, according to the study by a team of researchers at Brown University and several other institutions in the United States and Europe.

“These results suggest that there is something different about the immune response to tumor cells in people with allergies,” said corresponding author Dominique Michaud, associate professor of epidemiology in the Public Health Program at Brown University. “In terms of fighting the cancer or preventing it from growing, people who have allergies might be protected. They might be able to better to fight the cancer.”

Questions answered, questions raised

The new study employed a methodology that addresses questions raised by previous studies that have also reported similar associations between IgE, or allergy symptoms, and brain tumors. Instead of asking people who have or have not been diagnosed with brain tumors to describe their allergy history or to take IgE tests, the study delved into the detailed records of tens of thousands of people who participated in four broad-based health studies: the Physicians’ Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study, the Women’s Health Study, and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

Such “prospective” analysis of samples collected from patients before they were diagnosed or treated for brain tumors, allowed the researchers to measure the association between IgE and brain cancer risk without worry that the IgE levels were affected by the course of the disease and treatments for it.

“This is really the first study to look at total IgE levels collected prior to disease,” Michaud said. “This is important in being able to determine whether this is a causal effect.”

Although the pool of patients in the four studies was large, the actual number of relevant cases was small. Only 169 people with stored plasma subsequently developed brain tumors. They were matched with 520 control subjects (otherwise similar people who did not develop tumors). The small numbers blunted some of the study’s results.

For example, the researchers found a statistically significant reduction in glioma risk among people with borderline elevated IgE levels (in a range of 25,000 to 100,000 units per liter), but not for people with even higher levels of IgE. Michaud acknowledged that further research would be needed to explain why the protective effect couldn’t be measured in people with the highest IgE levels.

Ultimately, Michaud said, by strengthening the evidence that allergic immune response may affect brain tumors, the study may encourage cancer researchers to focus on the biological mechanisms underlying this association and provide insight into the disease and its treatment.

In addition to Brown, other institutions with affiliated authors of the paper include Imperial College in London, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and the Harvard University School of Public Health in Boston.

The National Institutes of Health funded the study.

Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews, and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call (401) 863-2476.

David Orenstein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.brown.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule
12.12.2018 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

nachricht Pain: Perception and motor impulses arise in the brain independently of one another
12.12.2018 | Technische Universität München

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: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule

12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine

CCNY-Yale researchers make shape shifting cell breakthrough

12.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Pain: Perception and motor impulses arise in the brain independently of one another

12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>