Pharmaceutical International News - August 2012
Dendritic Cell Allergy Drug Research Breakthough
Posted by Paul Fiddian - Pharmaceutical International's Lead Reporter on 07/08/2012 - 10:45:00
New allergy treatment drugs could come out of innovative research undertaken by UK scientists. Through looking in-depth at a key part of the human immune system response mechanism, the Edinburgh-based researchers now know more about a particular cell type that plays in a part in pollen, dust and pet hair-triggered allergies.
Called dendritic, it's been knowledge for some time that these cells help manage infection-fighting processes by sparking the activation of white blood cells. They're also crucial in immune response regulation processes and that quality, too, is something scientists have known about for some years.
What's not been realised, before now, is that dendritic cells also suppress the immune system when it starts becoming too active.
Dendritic Cell Research
Based on this new dendritic cell discovery - the research team, which includes Andrew Macdonald - say they've got updated insight into the way allergic reactions impact on the immune system and, so, the potential's there for new drugs to be manufactured that act in the same way.
Two organisations supported this work - namely, the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council - while the research element also involved the US-based National Institutes of Health.
Dendritic Cell Allergy Study
Details of the Edinburgh dendritic cell allergy study now appear in a piece published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
"This gives us new insight into the complex workings of the immune system and takes us a valuable step closer to being able to control inflammation of the kind found in allergic reactions", Andrew Macdonald explained, in a statement.
In related news, dendritic cells have also recently been linked to new cancer vaccines in separate research carried out in the UK and Singapore.
"These are the cells we need to be targeting for anti-cancer vaccines", Newcastle University's Doctor Muzlifah Haniffa explained in a statement. He added: "Our discovery offers an accessible, easily targetable system which makes the most of the natural ability of the cell."
Image copyright Shuhrataxmedov - Copyright Wikimedia Commons
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