Northwestern Medicine develops new technology to treat allergies, asthma

Kelli Nguyen, Assistant Campus Editor

Northwestern Medicine researchers developed a new technology that can be used to disable food allergies and asthma.

The new method includes a biodegradable nanoparticle concealing allergens from the immune system by coating them in a “friendly shell,” according to a news release. This shell keeps the immune system from attacking them, resulting in the prevention of an allergic reaction or asthma attack.

“The findings represent a novel, safe and effective long-term way to treat and potentially ‘cure’ patients with life-threatening respiratory and food allergies,” Feinberg Prof. and senior author Stephen Miller said in the release. “This may eliminate the need for life-long use of medications to treat lung allergy.”

In addition to treating allergies and asthma, the new technology increases the number of regulatory T cells and creating a more balanced immune system.

The new technology has been tested on mice and is being developed for clinical trials. Although the method has been used in treating autoimmune diseases, this is the first time it has been employed to address allergic diseases.

“It’s a universal treatment,” Miller said in the release. “Depending on what allergy you want to eliminate, you can load up on the nanoparticle with ragweed pollen or a peanut protein.”

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