Drug allergy breakthrough

May 24th, 2012
Professor Jamie Rossjohn
(Medical Xpress) -- Australian researchers have discovered why people develop life-threatening allergies after receiving treatment for conditions such as epilepsy and AIDS.

The research, by the University of Melbourne and Monash University, could lead to the development of a diagnostic test to determine drug hypersensitivity.

Published today in Nature, the study revealed how some drugs inadvertently target the body's immune system to alter how it perceives it’s own tissues, making them appear foreign.

The immune system then attacks the foreign nature of the tissues as if they were incompatible transplants.

Professor Jamie Rossjohn from Monash University, who led the study with Professor James McCluskey of the University of Melbourne, and Professor Tony Purcell from the University of Melbourne’s Bio21 Institute, said the study showed the biological mechanisms by which a person's exact tissue type determined whether they would develop the drug allergy.

"Our findings represent the culmination of a seven-year odyssey for the collaborative groups involved in this study," Professor Rossjohn said.

"We have provided insight into a general mechanism of drug hypersensitivity and the HLA locus."

Professor McCluskey said an entire class of drug allergy was likely to be explained by the discovery.

“There are several drugs that can cause life-threatening skin rashes and other symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, muscle aches and pains," Professor McCluskey said.

“A simple blood test may help to predict adverse reactions in the treatment of a broad range of conditions like AIDS, epilepsy, gout and infections.”

The study was done in collaboration with the Queensland Institute for Medical Research and was supported by the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.

Provided by Monash University

This Phys.org Science News Wire page contains a press release issued by an organization mentioned above and is provided to you “as is” with little or no review from Phys.Org staff.

More news stories

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

Venture investments jump to $9.5B in 1Q

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into an increasing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.