Gene therapy could ‘turn off’ severe allergies
A single treatment giving life-long protection from severe allergies such as asthma could be made possible by immunology research at The University of Queensland.
A team led by Associate Professor Ray Steptoe at the UQ Diamantina Institute has been able to ‘turn-off’ the immune response which causes allergic reaction in animals.
“When someone has an allergy or asthma flare-up, the symptoms they experience results from immune cells reacting to protein in the allergen,” Professor Steptoe said.
“The challenge in asthma and allergies is that these immune cells, known as T-cells, develop a form of immune ‘memory’ and become very resistant to treatments.
“We have now been able ‘wipe’ the memory of these T-cells in animals with gene therapy, de-sensitising the immune system so that it tolerates the protein.
“Our work used an experimental asthma allergen, but this research could be applied to treat those who have severe allergies to peanuts, bee venom, shell fish and other substances.”
Dr Steptoe said the findings would be subject to further pre-clinical investigation, with the next step being to replicate results using human cells in the laboratory.”
“We take blood stem cells, insert a gene which regulates the allergen protein and we put that into the recipient.
“Those engineered cells produce new blood cells that express the protein and target specific immune cells, ‘turning off’ the allergic response.”
Dr Steptoe said the eventual goal would be a single injected gene therapy, replacing short-term treatments that target allergy symptoms with varying degrees of effectiveness.
“We haven’t quite got it to the point where it’s as simple as getting a flu jab, so we are working on making it simpler and safer so it could be used across a wide cross-section of affected individuals,” Dr Steptoe said.
“At the moment, the target population might be those individuals who have severe asthma or potentially lethal food allergies.”
Dr Steptoe’s research has been funded by the Asthma Foundation and the National Health and Medical Research Council.
Asthma Foundation of Queensland and New South Wales Chief Executive Officer Dr Peter Anderson said more than two million Australians have asthma, and current statistics show that more than half of those are regularly burdened with symptoms of the disease.
“Even though there are effective treatments available for the vast majority, patients face a number of obstacles and challenges in their self-management practices,” Dr Anderson said.
“The Foundation welcomes the findings of this research and looks forward to a day in the future when a safe one-off treatment may be available that has the potential to eliminate any experience of asthma in vulnerable patients.”
Learn more: Gene therapy could ‘turn off’ severe allergies
The Latest on: Gene therapy for allergies
- Gene Therapy for Inherited, Inflammatory and Infectious Diseases of the Lungon November 3, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Inherited and acquired lung diseases are the subject of a disproportionately large fraction of the approved human gene therapy clinical protocols because a number of these diseases have well ...
- New gene therapy for epilepsy provides on-demand release of endogenous substanceon October 30, 2019 at 12:46 pm
Scientists have developed a new therapeutic concept for the treatment of temporal lobe epilepsy. It represents a gene therapy capable of suppressing seizures at their site of origin on demand. Having ...
- Can Gene Therapy Cure HIV? US Gov't. Is Banking $100 Million On It.on October 23, 2019 at 11:10 am
The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) wants to cure HIV and sickle cell disease with gene therapies ... of The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Although current treatments ...
- Growth of Interstitial Cystitis Drugs Market to be impacted by the Advent of Gene Therapy | Technavioon October 18, 2019 at 10:38 am
This condition is associated with various comorbidities such as endometriosis, fibromyalgia, and allergies. The increasing number of interstitial cystitis cases is driving the demand for interstitial ...
- When added to gene therapy, plant-based compound may enable faster, more effective treatmentson October 17, 2019 at 12:57 pm
The gene therapy treatment process currently requires isolating a ... NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences; NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; NIH Office of ...
via Google News and Bing News