Worldwide it's estimated that between 10% and 30% of the population suffer from Allergic Rhinitis. (Allergic Rhinitis is associated with symptoms that affect the nose.) But that's only one category of allergy. People are also allergic to food, insects, drugs and so on.
If you suffer from allergies or know somebody who does, you'll be interested to learn about research out of Montreal's Children's Hospital of the McGill University Heath Centre in Quebec, Canada.
According to Dr. Christine McCusker, a potential way to prevent allergies is using a molecule called STAT6. The premise was that if they could inhibit STAT6 they could reduce the symptoms of allergic airways disease such as asthma in allergic animals. To do so, her research team developed an inhibitor called STAT6-IP.
"What's beautiful about our approach is that you do not have to couple it with a specific allergen, you only use this peptide [a peptide is a naturally occurring biological molecule.] It just redirects the immune system away from the allergic response and then it will not matter if the child is exposed to pollen, cats or dogs, because the immune system will not form an aggressive allergic reaction anymore," says Dr. McCusker.
She adds that "In subjects who have the propensity to develop allergies, their system has made the 'wrong' decision somewhere along the line. It is like educating the immune system to follow the path we want it to follow."
So far it's only been successful on mice. The next step is see if it can educate the immune system to proven other types of allergies such as food. And then move onto clinical trials using humans.
" I think once I made up my mind that I was allergic to alcohol, and that's what I learned, it made sense to me. And I think it was kind of pointed out that you know if you were allergic to strawberries, you wouldn't eat strawberries. And that made sense to me." - Betty Ford