Living with a severe food allergy means more than simply missing out on tasty meals — these allergies can be life threatening, even if the food isn’t consumed. But, a new study indicates that a cure for food allergies may be on the horizon. Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan found that a new immunotherapy technique could be the key to eliminating allergic reactions to peanut and egg white proteins.
A team lead by scientist John Gordon used mice to investigate a potential way to treat food allergies by implanting cells from the immune systems of people allergic to peanuts into mice.
Gordon and his team found that generating a type of naturally occurring immune cell in the body then sends a signal to the body — basically reversing the allergic reactions. This signal also turns off “reactive cells” that are heightening the allergic reaction. Basically, an allergic person’s cells mimic a non-allergic person’s cells — stopping the potentially deadly episode.
This newly-discovered ability to convert allergen-sensitive immune cells into cells that mimic the responses seen in individuals who DON’T have food allergies could be the key to curing food allergies. According to the study’s findings, just one treatment reduces the anaphylactic response by up to 90%.
Pending the approval of Health Canada, Gordon expects the first human trial to begin within a year. “We predict the treatment could be on the market within the next five to 10 years,” he said, as reported by Science Daily.
If the treatment proves to be successful, it could be used for other medical conditions including asthma and autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis.
Although food allergies are considered a growing health risk, the discovery of a cure has evaded scientists and doctors for years. If Gordon’s treatment proves successful, it could save the lives of millions of people living with food allergies and other autoimmune disorders.
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