Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Millions who suffer from nut and milk allergies could benefit from Stanford researcher’s test

12.11.2004


A team led by a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine has developed vaccines that vastly reduce or eliminate dogs’ allergic reactions to three major food allergens: peanuts, milk and wheat. The vaccines’ benefits lasted at least three months.



The research, published in the Nov. 12 online edition of the journal Allergy and completed jointly with scientists at UC-San Francisco, UC-Davis and UC-Berkeley, is the first to reverse pre-existing food allergies in an animal other than a mouse. The vaccines provide new hope to the millions of people who suffer from food allergies.

"Food allergy is an important problem for which there is no good treatment," said Dale Umetsu, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics at Stanford and chief of the division of allergy and immunology at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. "Developing a cure for this growing problem will help millions of people and save lives."


According to Anne Munoz-Furlong, founder and CEO of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, a nonprofit patient advocacy group, "This study takes us one step closer to finding a treatment that will allow people to live without fear of having a reaction that could kill them."

Of the nine dogs in the study, four had peanut allergies and five had both milk and wheat allergies. Ten weeks after the dogs were vaccinated for the relevant allergenic foods, significantly greater amounts of the foods had to be used to generate a telltale allergic bump on the skin (called a wheal) in standard allergy skin tests.

In addition, all four of the peanut-allergic dogs tolerated eating much larger quantities of ground peanut after vaccination. As a group, they went from tolerating, on average, about one peanut to tolerating more than 37 peanuts. In fact, three of the four vaccinated dogs could eat a handful of peanuts - the maximum amount they were offered (about 57 peanuts) - without developing any symptoms. One of these dogs had a more than a hundred-fold increase in peanut tolerance - from half of one peanut to 57 peanuts.

Similarly, when milk-allergic dogs were fed 0.2 grams of milk two to four months after vaccination, they exhibited a 100 percent reduction in vomiting and a 60 percent reduction in diarrhea compared to their reactions prior to vaccination. The results for every test were statistically significant.

The dogs were cared for according to nationally accepted guidelines, and the tests performed were no different from those that are commonly used in human subjects. And, as in human research, dogs that had allergic reactions were immediately treated with antihistamines and recovered.

Food allergies occur in 1 to 2 percent of adults and up to 8 percent of children age 8 or younger. "Currently, the only treatment is to avoid the relevant food," said Umetsu. "Unfortunately, that’s often difficult." Accidental exposures happen because peanut and milk products are present in many processed foods.

About 100 people, mostly children, die annually as a result of accidental exposures that produce a systemic allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. At its most severe, anaphylactic shock involves cardiac arrest and/or airway swelling so severe that a person can suffocate if not immediately treated with epinephrine, a strong antihistamine. Peanuts are the most common culprit.

Peanut and tree nut allergies have been on the rise in recent years, and the NIAID estimates that about 3 million Americans are affected annually. According to one study, these allergies’ prevalence in children doubled from 1997 to 2002. The so-called "hygiene hypothesis" attributes this escalation to too much cleanliness in modern life. Under this theory, infections are critical to help protect people from allergies.

Umetsu’s vaccines were designed with the hygiene hypothesis in mind. The vaccines’ essential ingredient is a dead bacterium - heat-killed Listeria monocytogenes or HKL - mixed with peanuts, milk or wheat.

Umetsu began working with Listeria, a common food-borne bacterium that causes gastrointestinal infections, about 10 years ago. Perhaps, he reasoned, the incidence of Listeria infections has become less widespread than it once was because of greater attention to hygiene. "We thought that if we mimicked infection using HKL, we might engage the immune system in ways it was designed for, and in this way protect against allergy," he said.

The idea worked: Asthmatic mice did not develop wheezing when vaccinated with HKL mixed with an allergen such as a protein derived from eggs. "Bacteria and bacterial products can indeed induce protective responses," Umetsu said. He and his colleagues have also been studying how HKL affects the immune system. Results from those studies were recently published in Nature Immunology.

In a paper published in 2003, other researchers prevented peanut allergy in mice by vaccinating them with HKL and peanuts. Umetsu’s research takes that approach to a larger mammal - an important step because dogs’ allergic symptoms resemble those seen in humans, and dogs are close to humans on the mammalian family tree. Also, the Food and Drug Administration requires that studies be done in animals other than mice before a drug can be tested in humans.

Umetsu cautions that the vaccine is not yet ready for human testing. "We still have to do additional studies to see if the vaccine causes unforeseen problems in animals," he said. But he has great hopes for an effective food allergy treatment. His lab at Stanford is currently recruiting volunteers for a study of another peanut allergy treatment that works by a different mechanism: It rids the body of the antibody involved in allergic reactions.

"Over the next five to 10 years as we understand the causes of allergies better, we will have better recommendations and therapies that will in fact cure allergic disease," Umetsu said.

Katharine Miller | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.stanford.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht UC San Diego researchers develop sensors to detect and measure cancer's ability to spread
06.12.2018 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht New cancer immunotherapy approach turns immune cells into tiny anti-tumor drug factories
05.12.2018 | University of California - San Diego

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: 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...

Im Focus: Substitute for rare earth metal oxides

New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals

Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.

Im Focus: A bit of a stretch... material that thickens as it's pulled

Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.

Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...

Im Focus: The force of the vacuum

Scientists from the Theory Department of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) in Hamburg have shown through theoretical calculations and computer simulations that the force between electrons and lattice distortions in an atomically thin two-dimensional superconductor can be controlled with virtual photons. This could aid the development of new superconductors for energy-saving devices and many other technical applications.

The vacuum is not empty. It may sound like magic to laypeople but it has occupied physicists since the birth of quantum mechanics.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

Expert Panel on the Future of HPC in Engineering

03.12.2018 | Event News

Inaugural "Virtual World Tour" scheduled for december

28.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new molecular player involved in T cell activation

07.12.2018 | Life Sciences

High-temperature electronics? That's hot

07.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

Supercomputers without waste heat

07.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>