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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-07-2005, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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Allergic to cats? Help is on way -- from mice

Thursday, April 7, 2005

Allergic to cats? Help is on way -- from mice

By LAURA TANGLEY
THE NEW YORK TIMES

If you're a mouse, an attack of the sniffles when you scamper by a bit of cat hair may be a good thing -- an early warning system allowing a quick getaway from the predator lurking under the bed.

In the natural world, mice rarely, if ever, suffer from cat allergies. But laboratory mice specially bred to be allergic to cats have been cured by researchers who have developed a novel approach to allergy treatment.

The results may lead to better therapy for millions of people who are allergic to cats -- including 14 percent of children from age 6 to 19 -- and for the estimated 50 million Americans who suffer from some type of allergy.

The new treatment, described in this month's Nature Medicine, involves linking a feline protein that causes cat allergies to a human protein that stops immune system cells from releasing histamine, the chemical that sets off allergy symptoms.

To test the therapy, the scientists exposed the allergic mice to proteins from cat saliva or dander, then injected some of them with the human-feline protein. A single injection "blunted the allergic response before it began," said Dr. Christopher Kepley, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and a co-author of the report.

Kepley conducted the study with scientists at UCLA.

In earlier work, Kepley and his colleagues tested the treatment on cultured blood cells from people allergic to cats. Cells containing the human-feline protein released 90 percent less histamine than those that did not.

If the therapy works as well in humans as it does in mice, Kepley said, it may lead to a "faster and safer" way to treat a variety of human allergies. The problem with traditional desensitization treatments such as allergy shots, he said, is that they require multiple injections with gradually increasing doses of the allergen, a process that can take up to a year.

And because they expose allergy sufferers to the proteins that make them sick, such conventional therapies carry some risk -- and cannot be used to treat potentially deadly food allergies.

Each year, about 150 people in the United States die from food-induced allergies, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which financed the research. Kepley said his group next planned to tackle peanut allergies.

"In theory, you can gear this new technique toward any allergen you want," he said.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-08-2005, 03:38 PM
 
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Well, hurry up and put it on the market so I can have my 21 cats!!
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-08-2005, 08:45 PM
 
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that would be the greatest thing since milk
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-10-2005, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SammyO
Well, hurry up and put it on the market so I can have my 21 cats!!
Yeah, me too!
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-11-2005, 05:58 AM
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thats awsome, but...poor mice i DONT agree with lab testing. anyways...i am still glad they found it
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-11-2005, 11:52 AM
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Living without cat allergies would be *SO* wonderful..... I hate when my allergies bug me and I have to keep my kitties away from me... it's sooo hard to resist petting them, lol.
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