Allergy battle could be won in five years, says scientist

Jul 12, 2006

Allergies such as asthma, eczema and hay fever could be snuffed out within five years thanks to pioneering work at The University of Manchester.

Researchers, working with colleagues at St George’s, University of London, are developing drugs designed to stop allergens from entering the body, so rendering them harmless.

Professor David Garrod said the research – recently shortlisted for the Northwest Regional Development Agency’s Bionow Project of the Year – takes a completely new approach to the treatment and prevention of allergies.

“The technology is based on our earlier discovery of how allergens, the substances that cause allergy, enter the body through the surface layer of cells that protect the skin and the tubes of the lungs,” he said.

“Allergens from pollen or house dust mites are inhaled and then dissolve the binding material between the cells that form these protective linings; they can then enter the body by passing between the cells to cause an allergic response.

“The drugs we are developing – called Allergen Delivery Inhibitors (ADIs) – are designed to disable these allergens so they can no longer eat through the protective cell layer and block the allergic reaction before it occurs.

“The effect will be like avoiding allergens altogether. Removing carpets and rigorous cleaning of homes are established ways to avoid allergens, but they are only partially effective because their effects do not ‘travel’ with allergy sufferers.

“ADIs promise to be significantly better because taking a medicine is easier than rigorous housework and pills are portable.”

Professor Garrod, who is based within Manchester’s Faculty of Life Sciences, said work on the first ADI chemical was well advanced and potential drugs could enter clinical trials as early as 2010.

If successful, the drug would treat established symptoms already found in adult sufferers and, in due course, could be used to prevent allergies in children.

“Prevention of allergies has never before been possible,” said Professor Garrod. “Current medicines don’t act against the allergen at this early stage – they only ease the symptoms – so the development of these ADIs would be a major breakthrough in our fight against allergies.”

The study has already received nearly £450,000 from the Wellcome Trust but up to £3 million will be needed to develop the drugs to the clinical-trials stage.

Professor Garrod is now seeking investment to take the research to the next stage of development and a potential $26 billion market.

Source: University of Manchester

Explore further: Immigrant children given adult dose of hepatitis A vaccine

Related Stories

'Map of life' predicts ET. (So where is he?)

33 minutes ago

Extra-terrestrials that resemble humans should have evolved on other, Earth-like planets, making it increasingly paradoxical that we still appear to be alone in the universe, the author of a new study on ...

Baby seals that practice in pools make better divers

34 minutes ago

Being able to dive is what matters most for seal pups, but how do they learn to do it? Grey seal pups that can play in pools may have better diving skills once they make the move to the sea, and this could ...

Insect legs give clues to improving aircraft design

35 minutes ago

Insect legs could help engineers improve the safety of long tubular structures used in aircraft to reduce weight and in hospital equipment, such as catheters. Scientists from Trinity College Dublin are looking ...

Australia hails 'tremendous' UN barrier reef decision

36 minutes ago

Australia Thursday hailed a United Nations decision to keep the Great Barrier Reef off its in danger list as "tremendous", but activists warned more must be done to improve the marine park's health.

Recommended for you

Immigrant children given adult dose of hepatitis A vaccine

21 hours ago

About 250 immigrant children were given an adult dose of a hepatitis A vaccine at a Texas detention facility where they were being held with their mothers, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.