A research team at the University of Iowa has created a vaccine whose key ingredient, normally used in cancer vaccines, could be effective in provoking natural immune responses that combat dust mite allergies.
According to the study, the package contains a booster that ignites anti-inflammatory response to the microscopic mites which, when amassed by the millions, could resemble dust and cause breathing difficulties even for those who aren't allergic.
Reported to exist in 84% of US households, dust mites inhabit mattresses, sofas and rugs, which offer them frequent access to human skin, triggering allergies and breathing problems.
Young asthmatics are particularly sensitive to dust mites and, according to guidelines from the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 45% are allergic to them.
"This work suggests a way forward to alleviate mite-induced asthma in allergy sufferers," says contributing author Peter Thorne, a public health professor at UI.
The key ingredient in the booster has been successfully used in cancer vaccines and the study in question represents its first use in a dust mite allergy vaccine.
Called CpG, the adjuvant (booster) calls immune cells into action and, in turn, the activated immune cells imbibe it, thereby unleashing the vaccine carried by the CpG particles.
Upon reception of the vaccine, immune cells perform their anti-inflammatory duties and later dispose of the CpG particles.
"Our research explores a novel approach to treating mite allergy in which specially-encapsulated minuscule particles are administered with sequences of bacterial DNA that direct the immune system to suppress allergic immune responses," says Thorne.
The research team is currently at work on further testing of the vaccine in hopes that it will soon be available to those who suffer from dust mite allergies.
The study was published in American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Journal. – AFP/Relaxnews, July 25, 2014.