Allergic diseases are making one’s life more complicated and almost all treatment is only suppressing the symptoms. Fortunately, Stephen Miller of Northwestern University and Lonnie Shea of the University of Michigan can now mask allergen particles on their way into the body. This teaches the immune system not to attack the allergens in the future.
Their latest research published in the journal PNAS finally introduces a way to actually cure allergies altogether, instead of concealing symptoms with antihistamines such as Benadryl and Claritin.
As always, in order to find a cure, we first need to really understand what allergies are. Basically, allergies come to light whenever the body has an overreaction to certain foreign particles called allergens. So, all we need to do is teaching the body that some foods and particles are A-OK, right?
Normally this can be done by using shots to release the allergen directly into the blood stream. The desire is that the allergens will make it all the way to the body’s learning centers (i.e. liver or spleen). Within a learning center, the body will study the allergens realizing they’re in fact harmless and remain so in the future.
Nonetheless, on many occasions the body attacks the allergens even before they can safely reach these centers, causing anaphylaxis in the patients and consequently prevent a cure.
Now, the research sheds a new light on this problem and suggests that we can indeed blind our bodies into letting the allergen pass through by coating it in a discrete nanoparticle. The body interprets this nanoparticle-coated allergen as being an ordinary dust particle, only. He will then let it travel uninterrupted to the learning centers. The nanoparticle finally dissolves, releasing the allergen for internal study so that the body can experience the allergen as harmless. The next time it is consumed or breathed in, the body let it pass uninterrupted.
This technique has more implications and gives new hope to curing asthma and other autoimmune diseases as well. These diseases have a lot in common as they occur when the body overreacts to foreign particles. Since the nanoparticles could theoretically be filled with anything, scientists could literally design them to also treat other related diseases.