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First Demonstration of nanoImmunology: a Nanomaterials-based,Therapeutic Approach to Treat Allergy

ROANOKE, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jun 20, 2007 - Researchers from Luna Innovations Incorporated (NASDAQ: LUNA) and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) are the first to show that carbon nanospheres, sometimes referred to as "buckyballs," are able to block allergic response in human cell culture experiments and mice. These findings are described in a paper entitled "Fullerene Nanomaterials Inhibit the Allergic Response" published in the July 1 issue of the Journal of Immunology, setting the stage for the development of new potential therapies for allergies using nanomaterials.

Kent Murphy, CEO, Luna Innovations, noted about the immunology discovery and publication, "Luna's collaborations with universities and strategic partners are key to our business model and we are delighted to be part of this dynamic program to discover a new frontier in medicine. We are actively seeking pharmaceutical partnerships to help us accelerate the development and validation process of these new and exciting compounds."

Allergy is the fifth leading chronic disease in the United States among all ages, and the third most common chronic disease among children under 18 years old, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. An estimated 50 million Americans (one in five) suffer from some type of allergy. There are currently various treatments to control allergies, but no known cure. "The immune system both protects us and causes harm, so we are always interested in finding new pathways to help manage the harmful effects," said Chris Kepley, Ph.D., principal author on the paper and assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology at the VCU School of Medicine. "This discovery is exciting because it points to the possibility that these novel materials can one day lead to new therapies," said Kepley.

Buckyballs, or fullerenes, are named after American ar
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