Study creates basis for vaccine – ScienceDaily
A research team from MedUni Vienna has uncovered the key mechanisms of mugwort pollen allergy, laying the groundwork for the development of the world’s first vaccine. Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) poses a serious problem for allergy sufferers in our latitudes from July to September. Currently, the symptoms, which often lead to asthma, can only be treated symptomatically. Recent findings are an essential first step towards causative therapy and prevention of mugwort pollen allergy. The landmark study has just been published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
In their preclinical research, scientists began at the point of origin of mugwort pollen allergy. They discovered where and how immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies detect the major mugwort pollen allergen (Art v 1) and trigger the exaggerated immune response. They also discovered that the distinct protein building blocks of the major mugwort pollen allergen are in such a configuration that they can be blocked by IgG (immunoglobulin G) antibodies.
These findings by the research team led by Maja Zabel and Winfried Pickl, in collaboration with the research team of Rudolf Valenta (all from the Center for Pathophysiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology of MedUni Vienna), laid the groundwork development of a mugwort allergy vaccine: “Our shows how fragments of the major mugwort pollen allergen can be used for an effective and safe treatment,” says Winfried Pickl, study leader. “Our observations of the vaccine’s mode of action show that one end of the main mugwort pollen allergen provides important docking sites for pathogenic IgE antibodies from allergy sufferers, which can be used to create a new vaccine. “, says Winfried Pickl. . The first author of the study is Maja Zabel, who conducted the work during her doctoral studies at MedUni Vienna as part of the FWF-funded doctoral program “Molecular, Cellular and Clinical Allergology, MCCA”. This program is now part of the Danube Allergy Research Cluster (Danube ARC), which is funded by the state of Lower Austria.
Widespread in the northern hemisphere
Mugwort is widespread in the northern hemisphere, where its pollen causes discomfort and even asthma in sensitized people from July to September. The only treatments available for about 10% of the mugwort-sensitive population are limited to symptomatic relief. The current MedUni Vienna study is an internationally recognized first step towards causal therapy and prevention. “Then we will use the results of our research to produce a synthetic vaccine that can be evaluated in a clinical trial,” says Rudolf Valenta, describing the next step on the path to developing an effective vaccine.
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