A new gene therapy has been developed that may contribute to ‘turn off’ the immune response which causes allergic reaction such as asthma.
Ray Steptoe, Associate Professor at the University of Queensland in Australia said, "When someone has an allergy or asthma flare-up, the symptoms they experience results from immune cells reacting to protein in the allergen."
According to the study, single treatment may give protection from asthma for a lifetime.
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."
He added, "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."
Blood stem cells were taken and a gene which regulated the allergen protein inserted into them, for the study. It was then put into the recipients.
Steptoe noted, "Those engineered cells produced new blood cells that express the protein and target specific immune cells, 'turning off' the allergic response."
He told that the ultimate goal would be a single injected gene therapy which is simple and also safe and could be used widely among the affected individuals.