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New molecule discovered in fight against allergy
Date:2/15/2012

Scientists at The University of Nottingham have discovered a new molecule that could offer the hope of new treatments for people allergic to the house dust mite.

The team of immunologists led by Dr Amir Ghaem-Maghami and Professor Farouk Shakib in the University's School of Molecular Medical Sciences have identified the molecule DC-SIGN which appears to play a role in damping down the body's allergic response to the house dust mite .

The molecule can be found on the surface of the immune cells which play a key role in the recognition of a major allergen from house dust mites called Der p 1, a leading cause of asthma in northern Europe. The recognition of the allergen by the immune system is thought to lead to on-going sensitisation and the development of allergic symptoms.

The discovery furthers our understanding of how the body's immune system identifies and reacts to allergens, which could ultimately pave the way for developing new therapies or treatments for preventing allergies.

It's especially good news for the millions of people with asthma whose condition is worsened by their allergy to house dust mite and other environmental allergens. House dust mite droppings contain a whole raft of allergens that trigger a reaction when they become airborne and are inhaled.

Dr Amir Ghaem-Maghami said: "There has been a sharp increase in the prevalence of allergies over the past few decades and allergic asthma among children has reached epidemic proportions in many industrialised countries, including the UK. Despite improvements in patient care, mortality and morbidity of allergic asthma has remained high, and most therapies target symptoms rather than curing the condition.

"Many people with asthma are highly sensitive to airborne allergens such as those from house dust mite in fact, many studies have shown that up to 80 per cent of people with asthma are allergic to house dust mite.

"A better understandi
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Contact: Emma Thorne
emma.thorne@nottingham.ac.uk
44-011-595-15793
University of Nottingham
Source:Eurekalert

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