Breakthrough offers peanut
of Article: http://www.bakeryandsnacks.com/The-Big-Picture/Breakthrough-offers-peanut-allergy-hope
By Stephen Daniells, 20-Jul-2009
Scottish scientists have reported a breakthrough
that could slash the numbers of fatal cases of serious allergic reactions
to peanuts and other foods.
to findings published in the Proceedings of the National Association of
Sciences (PNAS) a molecule called interleukin-33 amplifies allergic
reactions. Researchers from the University of Glasgow also report a
development of a biological agent to reduce the symptoms.
basic terms, without the IL33 molecule, the allergic reaction experienced
would be far less severe, greatly reducing the risk of death,”
explained researcher Dr Alirio Melendez.
food allergies on the rise, the news will be welcomed by the food industry.
An estimated eight per cent of children in the EU suffering from food
allergies, according to the European Federation of Allergy and Airways
Diseases Patients' Associations.
most common food allergen ingredients and their derivatives are cereals
containing gluten, fish, crustaceans, egg, peanut, soybeans, milk and dairy
products including lactose, nuts, celery, mustard, sesame seed, and
is no current cure for food allergy and vigilance by an allergic individual
is the only way to prevent a reaction but a peanut
allergy can be so severe that only very tiny amounts can be
enough to trigger a response.
peanut allergy potentially fatal for some people, food manufacturers are
already bound by certain regulations, depending on the country, to
highlight possible allergens in a food product, such as the EU’s
Labelling Directive 2000/13/EC.
Glasgow-based researchers, led by Dr Alirio Melendez and Professor Eddy
Liew, identified interleukin-33 after looking at a number of patients who
experienced anaphylaxis during surgery and found that they had very high
levels of the molecule.
is a relatively new discovery and its part in anaphylaxis (or any
pathology) has not been greatly understood,” said Dr
study showed that IL-33 plays a pivotal role in hugely increasing the
inflammation experienced during a period of anaphylactic shock and led us
to understand how to intervene to reduce its impact.”
a mouse model, the researchers showed that blocking the IL-33 molecule
could reduce the severity of the attack.
approach does not stop the allergic reaction altogether. It blocks the
amplification of the reaction triggered by IL-33, not the allergic response
are now further studying the role of IL-33 in anaphylaxis and similar
disorders, and our plans are to further these studies on food, venoms and
drugs-mediated anaphylaxis,” said Dr Melendez.
Regent, chief executive of The Anaphylaxis Campaign, welcomed the results
would hope to see this work developed further to a point where it could be
of real benefit to people living with anaphylaxis or at risk of severe
allergic reaction,” she said.
Volume 106, Number 24, Pages 9773-9778, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0901206106
"The cytokine interleukin-33 mediates anaphylactic shock"
Authors: P.N. Pushparaj, H.K. Tay, S.C. H'ng, N. Pitman, D. Xu, A. McKenzie,
F.Y. Liew, A.J. Melendez