A peanut allergy is at least uncomfortable and at worst deadly. More than 4.6 million adults in the US are allergic to legumes. For young children, discovering an allergy can be a dangerous moment. A new study published in ACS Nano could suggest a potential cure for peanut allergy that uses lipid mRNA nanoparticles to "teach" the body about allergies.
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) were inspired by using mRNA to develop a COVID vaccine. "To the best of our knowledge, mRNA has never been used to treat allergic diseases," said study co-author Dr. André Nel, opposite New Atlas. "We have shown that our platform can help alleviate peanut allergy, and we believe it can do the same for other allergens in food and drugs, as well as for autoimmune diseases." Tests have already shown that the method reduces allergic reactions to peanuts in mice reduced.
What is the mechanism in the back of this thrilling advance? According to MD/PhD pupil Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn, “Food allergic reaction is described as an immune system-mediated detrimental response to meals proteins.” In the case of peanut allergies, a protein within the peanuts reasons a person's frame to react with an immune reaction to this overseas substance which it identifies as harmful. To save you this, the group codes the mRNA with an epitope, which the dictionary defines as “the a part of an antigen molecule to which an antibody attaches itself.” This may be made peanut particular however in destiny can be tailor-made to a special allergic reaction. This mRNA is positioned in a lipid nanoparticle, that's despatched to the liver. There it affects antigen-offering cells to tolerate the peanut proteins.
"If you're lucky enough to pick the right epitope, there's an immune mechanism that suppresses the responses to all the other fragments," says Nel. "That could take care of the whole ensemble of epitopes involved in disease." While you may not be able to cure your peanut allergy just yet, relief may occur in the next few years. After successful studies in mice, the researchers hope their method will be tested in human clinical trials within three years. In the future, this method could also be used to alleviate other allergies or even type 1 diabetes.