Wellington scientists have patented a ground-breaking vaccine for asthma.
Trial results published today show the vaccine works in mice, preventing inflammation of the lungs and airways.
The vaccine is a novel way of dealing with allergies which, if successful in humans, could be expanded to other allergies and diseases.
Malaghan Institute vaccine therapy programme leader Ian Hermans said the successful mice trial results were exciting.
However, it would take at least five years of further research before the vaccine could be proven in humans.
Malaghan immune cell biology programme leader Franca Ronchese said the vaccine worked by stimulating the immune system to produce killer T-cells, which hunted down the dendritic cells that took up allergens and triggered inflammation.
“It’s like taking out the generals of the enemy’s army in order to overpower it.”
New Zealand has one of the highest asthma rates in the world, with up to one in five Kiwis affected.
A vaccine giving long-term protection would transform the lives of the 500,000 New Zealanders dependent on asthma inhalers, Ronchese said. “What we hope is that it’s not like having to take drugs for your asthma, where you have to take them all the time.
“In our mouse patients we have evidence that it can work over a long time. We can give them the allergen again and again and it still works.”
Hermans said the vaccine was also unique in that the critical components were linked to “clever chemistry”. “It’s a much more potent way of stimulating the immune response than to just grab the two components, mix them up and inject them.”
The Latest on: Asthma vaccine
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The Latest on: Asthma vaccine
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