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Vaccine for dust-mite allergies

IANS  |  New York 

If you are allergic to dust mites, here comes the help. Researchers have now developed a vaccine that can combat dust-mite allergies by switching on the body's immune response.

In animal tests, the nano-sized vaccine package lowered lung inflammation by 83 percent despite repeated exposure to the allergens.

"The vaccine package contains a booster that alters the body's inflammatory response to dust-mite allergens," informed paper's first author Vijaya Joshi, a graduate fellow in pharmacy at University of Iowa in US.

The vaccine takes advantage of the body's natural inclination to defend itself against foreign bodies.

A key to the formula lies in the use of an adjuvant - which boosts the potency of the vaccine - called CpG.

The CpG sets off a fire alarm within the body, springing immune cells into action. Those immune cells absorb the CpG and dispose of it.

"Combining the antigen (the vaccine) and CpG causes the body to change its immune response, producing antibodies that dampen the damaging health effects dust-mite allergens generally cause," explained Aliasger Salem, a professor in pharmaceutical sciences at University of Iowa.

In lab tests, the CpG-antigen package was absorbed 90 percent of the time by immune cells.

The researchers followed up those experiments by giving the package to mice and exposing the animals to dust-mite allergens every other day for nine days total.

In analyses conducted at the University's college of public health, packages with CpG yielded greater production of the desirable antibodies.

"This work suggests a way forward to alleviate mite-induced asthma in allergy sufferers," said Peter Thorne, a public health professor at the university.

The paper appeared in the journal American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.

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First Published: Wed, July 23 2014. 13:16 IST