JAN 25, 2018 1:37 PM PST

Therapeutic Antibody Inactivates Allergic Response

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

A new technique for treating allergies is on the way, and a therapeutic antibody is responsible. From Aarhus University, researchers introduce a novel antibody capable of inhibiting histamine production and an allergic reaction.

Obstruction and inflammation of the bronchiole characteristic of asthma. Credit: Yale Rosen

The single-domain, ultra-stable antibody prevents IgE, a human antibody associated with the allergic response in the immune system, from attaching to two cell receptors (CD23, FceRI). Normally, high levels of IgE are produced in response to exposure to allergens like pollen or insect venom. IgE antibodies attach to effector immune cells and produce histamine, which is the key ingredient for an allergic response.

But the therapeutic antibody Aarhus University researchers used in their studies thwarts the activity of IgE, blocking the allergic response that begins in the immune system. Additionally, the antibody is capable of removing IgE molecules after binding CD23 and FceRI.

“It doesn't matter that the body produces millions of allergen-specific IgE molecules,” explained Aarhus University’s Edzard Spillner. “When we can remove the trigger, the allergic reaction and symptoms will not occur.”

Interestingly enough, the new antibody is effective despite being smaller than therapeutic antibodies currently used in pharmaceutical products for allergy relief. Plus, its chemical structure allows it to be inhaled or swallowed, while many antibody-based allergy treatments available need to be injected.

The interaction between the experimental antibody and IgE has been tested in the lab with blood cells from people allergic to pollen and venom. Researchers believe it is applicable to other allergens and asthma as well.

Spillner and others are hoping to use this discovery to develop more effective treatments for allergies of all kinds.

"We can now precisely map how the antibody prevents binding of IgE to its receptors,” said Nick Laursen. “This allows us to envision completely new strategies for engineering medicine of the future.”

Experts at the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimate that nasal allergies alone impact more than 50 million people in the United States, and that number continues to increase.

Before an allergy treatment with the new antibody as its main ingredient can become available to the public, Spillner, Laursen, and the other researchers from Aarhus University will have to conduct many clinical trials to ensure its efficacy and safety.

The present study was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Source: Aarhus University

About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
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