Tags: hayfever | vaccine | shot

Next up: A new Hayfever Vaccine?

Thursday, 13 September 2012 01:13 PM

Researchers are reporting progress in developing a new vaccine for hayfever that could be more effective and less costly than currently available allergy shots.
A study carried out by scientists at Imperial College London and King's College London showed the vaccine, which harnesses the body’s natural immune defenses to block antibodies in the blood stream, led to a significant reduction in skin sensitivity to grass pollen.
The results were so encouraging that researchers are launching a clinical trial of the shot to evaluate its potential as a new hayfever treatment. The researchers said the vaccine takes a novel immunotherapy approach that could be tailored to other conditions, such as asthma and food allergies.
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“The results of our study are hugely exciting,” said Dr. Stephen Till, a King's College London researcher. “We now want to find out if this process can also switch off grass allergy in the nose and improve hayfever symptoms, so we are today launching [a] clinical trial to further test our new approach.'
Hayfever, which affects one in four people, is an allergic reaction to grass pollen that triggers a runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and in some cases asthma symptoms. Tablets and sprays may temporarily relieve symptoms, but for severe cases allergy shots are given, containing high doses of allergens that provoke the immune system to fight the allergies. In most cases this involves large numbers of injections in an allergy clinic, which can be inconvenient and expensive for patients.
But the new vaccine, detailed in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, involves series of low dose allergen injections (less than a 1,000th of the usual dose). Tests of the vaccines on British hayfever sufferers showed it led to a 90 percent reduction in skin reactivity to grass pollen.
During the 10-week study none of the participants reported negative side effects and the injections did not trigger hayfever symptoms.
“If this approach proves to be effective it would define a new scientific and clinical principle that could also be applied to other allergic diseases such as asthma and food allergies,” said Till. “This could be a pivotal study in immunological research.
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Progress is being made toward a hayfever vaccine that is more effective and less costly than current allergy shots.
Thursday, 13 September 2012 01:13 PM
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