British scientists have discovered a molecule which appears to play a key role in triggering allergies.
Researchers from Barts and the London School of Medicine managed to stop allergic attacks in mice by targeting the molecule--P110delta, BBC reported on Friday.
The researchers said the method did not interfere with the rest of the body's immune defenses, and it may offer the chance to prevent allergies, not just relieve symptoms.
The researchers looked at a family of proteins called PI3Ks, which have a variety of roles around the body. The P110delta molecule is one of these.
They believe that targeting this molecule alone might be able to interfere with attacks. They said that in mice, the molecule could be blocked, without harming the rest of the immune system.
"This work shows that we have the potential to take control of the body's reaction to an allergen and prevent symptoms from occurring," Khaled Ali, who led the research, was quoted as saying.
"This work confirms our previous findings and shows once and for all that in an allergic reaction, it is P110delta that is the key player. We are very hopeful that a drug for human patients can be developed in the very near future," Professor Bart Vanhaesebroeck, also from Barts and the London, said.
Allergies happen when part of the immune system identifies something common and harmless, such as pollen or house mite faeces, as a foreign invader, and launches an attack. This can cause inflammation on the skin, in the nose or airways, which creates the unpleasant and sometimes dangerous symptoms reported by sufferers.
(Xinhua News Agency February 16, 2008)