CANBERRA, Mar 12 (XINHUA/APP): Researchers from Australian National University (ANU) have discovered a protein that could stop asthma and anaphylaxis.
In a study published recently, the team revealed their discovery that they say could hold the key to preventing the human body from developing allergies, autoimmune diseases and asthma.
The protein, called neuritin, drives a process in the immune system that produces a natural defence against allergic reactions. After five years of studying the immune system, the research team discovered that neuritin prevents the body from producing excessive Immunoglobulin E (IgE), an antibody that causes allergic reactions by releasing histamines.
“We have discovered neuritin prevents excessive formation of IgE that is typically associated with some common forms of allergy and food in-tolerances,” senior author Carola Vinuesa said in a media release on Thursday.
“We have shown it is one of our immune system’s own mechanisms to prevent autoimmunity and allergy and now we have the evidence, we can go on to harness that for treatment.” Researchers are optimistic that their findings can form the basis for new treatments for allergies, asthma and autoimmune diseases, many of which are caused or exacerbated by antibodies.
“This could be more than a new drug – it could be a completely new approach to treat allergies and autoimmune diseases,” Vinuesa said. “If this approach was successful, we would not need to deplete important immune cells nor dampen the entire immune system; instead, we would only need to use the proteins our own body uses to ensure immune tolerance. “Allergies and autoimmune diseases are both on the rise and we hope this will give us a new way to tackle them.”
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