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Food allergies: A new, simple method to track down allergens
Date:7/2/2014

gE antibodies from the patient's blood are isolated by interaction with magnetic beads that are coated with a different type of antibody. The "bead" antibodies recognize and bind the patient's IgE antibodies. This takes place inside a long and narrow glass tube, only 50 micrometers in diameter, called a "capillary". The bound antibodies are then flushed out of the capillary and powerfully attached to the magnetic beads through a process called 'crosslinking', which keeps them from detaching. The beads with the patient's IgE are then placed again inside the capillary.

The test begins when milk is injected through the capillary. As the milk's proteins pass over the patient's IgE antibodies, the ones that cause allergies are caught by them, while the others exit on the other side. The beads are then washed with a strong chemical that causes the allergy-inducing protein to dissociate from the patient's IgE antibodies. The isolated, "culprit" protein is then identified using mass spectrometry, which is a technique that analyzes compounds according to their mass and electrical charge.

The method offers a personalized way to identify the exact proteins that can cause food allergies to a patient, which can help develop an effective treatment. It is also quicker, as it does not require the detection and quantification of a patient's specific IgE antibodies or the laborious and resource-intensive diagnostic methods used currently. Finally, it provides higher accuracy than conventional allergy-testing methods, as it can detect tiny amounts of allergic proteins, even if they are unexpected and rare. This also means that the method can be extended beyond milk to other foods like nuts and wheat products.


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Contact: Nik Papageorgiou
n.papageorgiou@epfl.ch
41-216-932-105
Ecole Polytechnique Fdrale de Lausanne
Source:Eurekalert

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