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Next-generation allergy vaccines to be developed in Finland to create effective and safe desensitization therapies
Date:10/21/2011

VTT holds patents on gene technology which can be applied to alter the structure of an allergen, i.e. a protein causing allergy, so that it will cause less allergic symptoms than the original allergen, while remaining effective in desensitisation therapy.

"The vaccine helps to improve the protection to the allergen, thus, alleviating the symptoms. That's why we prefer to use the term vaccine, instead of medication," VTT's Senior Advisor Hans Sderlund explains. The research objective is to develop an orally administered vaccine.

The foundation for this development rests on a scientific breakthrough dating back five years to a co-operation project involving VTT, the University of Eastern Finland and HUCH Skin and Allergy Hospital. Researchers were able to determine how an IgE antibody binds an allergen and were the first to present a detailed 3D structure of this complex. This proved to be different from what scientists around the world had anticipated.

Initially, Desentum Oy will develop a product line of 20 to 25 new hypoallergens which could be used as vaccines for some of the most important allergies. These include pollens (birch, hay, common wormwood, etc.), allergens from pets, and proteins associated with food allergies (fish, nuts, apple, celery). Clinical testing of the first products is anticipated to start within the next three years.

Pekka Mattila, Desentum Oy's Managing Director, knows how to run a biotechnology company and increase its business opportunities. He was one of the founding members of the Finnzymes Group and acted as its CEO until 2010, when the company was sold to the American Thermo Fisher Scientific.

What is an allergy?

Allergies are caused by the immune reaction to normally harmless proteins allergens - present in environment, food or consumer and medical products. Due to sensitisation, the body generates Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. Next time when these antibo
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Contact: Hans Soderlund Professor
Hans.soderlund@vtt.fi
358-207-225-104
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Source:Eurekalert

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