A vaccination against allergies due to dust mites has been developed. Dust mites are extremely small creatures but they can produce huge allergic reactions. The new dust mite vaccine was shown to lower allergic responses dramatically.
Researchers at the University of Iowa developed the vaccine and a report of their study was published in the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Journal. Aliasger Salem led the research team.
The mechanism for the new dust mite vaccine is that it naturally triggers the immune system to create a response to the dust mites. The testing of the vaccine has only happened in animals at this point. The vaccine is delivered into the body in a nano-sized “package” that contains sequences of bacterial DNA. This bacterial DNA directs the immune system to suppress the allergic immune response. A key part of the experiments carried out to develop this new vaccine is that different sized packages were tested.
The success of the vaccination against dust mites was shown to lower lung inflammation by 83 percent even with repeated exposures to dust mites. The researchers suggested that the vaccination works because the vaccination package contains a booster that alters the inflammatory response. The booster is call CpG and it sets what has been called a fire alarm within the body causing the immune system to act. As the immune system cells take in the CpG, they are also taking in the vaccine. The analogy that has been offered is it is similar to wrapping some food around a pill and then swallowing the whole thing. After the CpG booster activates the immune system cells to produce the anti-inflammatory response, the CpG particles are destroyed.
The dust mite vaccine was tested in mice that were exposed to dust mite allergens every other day for nine days. The results showed that the mice produced the expected antibodies to the allergens and also showed less lung inflammation than control mice.
Dust mites are everywhere and it is virtually impossible to get rid of them in bed sheets, furniture or in other household items. Rugs are an especially favorite place for dust mites to live. The bugs are very tiny and can only be observed with a microscope, so normal inspection while cleaning will not likely be helpful. People with known allergies to dust mites do their best to maintain the cleanest house possible, but it is still inevitable that some of these miniscule creatures will remain to cause trouble.
A benefit to the allergy treatment through the dust mite vaccine is that there should be very few, if any, side effects. No drugs are used that may cause toxicity and complications. This type of vaccination is designed to evoke a natural immune system response, albeit an enhanced and targeted one.
People with allergies to dust mites usually suffer from breathing difficulties, and prolonged exposure cause lung damage. People with asthma are particularly vulnerable to allergic reactions from dust mites and it has been estimated that about 45 percent of people with asthma have an allergy to dust mites. The hope of the researchers is that the dust mite vaccine will eventually become available for human use.
By Margaret Lutze