Nanoparticle Acts as a Trojan horse to Treat Asthma

This technology, according to experts, can also be used in allergies caused by food such as peanuts.

USA – A research team of scientists has used a biodegradable nanoparticle as a Trojan horse to treat asthma; a technology that could also be used against food allergies, such as peanuts.

In a new approach to treating asthma and allergies, the nanoparticle is hidden inside an allergen, but its external appearance is not threatening so it is able to convince the immune system to not attack, according to a study from Northwestern University (USA.)

The study, published in the journal PNAS, indicates that this approach suppresses long-term allergic reaction that occurs in the airways to a foreign agent and thus prevents asthma attacks.

This technology, according to experts, can also be used in allergies caused by food since the nanoparticle was proven to work in test with mice, which is similar to human suffering.

The study’s lead author Stephen Miller of Northwestern University said that this discovery is a way to new, safe and effective way to treat and potentially ‘cure’ patients suffering from respiratory allergies and food that can threaten their life in a long term.

This is the first time this method, creating tolerance in the immune system, is used in allergies. However, already is being used in preclinical test for autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, in addition to celiac ailments.

It is “a universal treatment” because depending on the allergy you want to remove the nanoparticle can be loaded with ragweed pollen or peanut protein, explained the researcher.

The nanoparticle that will become a Trojan horse to ‘cheat’ the humanitarian system and get rid of their attack is composed of a biodegradable antigen-associated PLG. It has been approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States.

When the nanoparticle loaded with the allergen is injected into the bloodstream of a mouse immune system does not react as the particle looks like a harmless waste which is eliminated by a macrophage, a type of white blood cell that engulfs foreign material in the body- .

“Thevacuum-cleaner cell presents the allergen or antigen to the immune system in a way that says, ‘No worries, this belongs here’,”  said Miller. Therefore this stops its attacks and the immune system is reset to normal.

During the experiment the mice that were treated were allergic to the protein eggshell, which already had antibodies in the blood and when exposed to the protein they had an allergic reaction similar to asthma. However, after being injected with the nanoparticle they did not show any allergic response.

Source: NWU

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