A dramatic increase in the incidence of chronic inflammatory diseases such as asthma, allergy, and irritable bowel syndrome, has led to concern about how modern lifestyles may trigger physiological defense mechanisms. Now, in the context of a foresight study under the auspices of the European Science Foundation (ESF), a group of scientists has examined the challenges associated with chronic inflammatory diseases, and described 10 key areas with the highest priority for research. Their recommendations are published in a supplement to The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), the official journal of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI). "Many transmissible diseases have been effectively eradicated over the last half century, yet there has been a marked increase in the incidence of chronic inflammatory diseases, " says committee chair Harald Renz, MD, of the Institute of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiochemistry, Molecular Diagnostics, Phillips University, Marburg, Germany.
The histamine releasing factor (HRF) molecule has been identified by researchers at La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology, as a potential target for developing novel therapies for numerous allergic reactions, including asthma. The study is published online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. In addition, the team, led by Toshiaki Kawakami, M.D., Ph.D., is the first to illuminate the HRF molecule in promoting asthma and some allergies, including identifying its receptor - a significant discovery that answers a vital question in the allergy research community. Juan Rivera, M.Sc., Ph.D., deputy scientific director at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), stated that the discoveries give novel insights on the function of HRF in allergic diseases.
La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology scientists have identified the histamine releasing factor (HRF) molecule as a promising target for developing new treatments for a number of allergic reactions including asthma. The research team, led by Toshiaki Kawakami, M.D., Ph.D., is also the first to clarify the role of the HRF molecule in promoting asthma and some allergies, including identifying its receptor - a major finding that answers a long-held and important question in the allergy research community. Juan Rivera, M.Sc., Ph.D., deputy scientific director at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said the findings provide new insights on HRF's function in allergic diseases. "Importantly, this work advances both the understanding of how HRF contributes to susceptibility of certain individuals in developing allergic disease as well as begins to unravel the mechanisms involved, " he said.
High diversity and a variety of bacteria in the gut protect children against allergies as opposed to some individual bacterial genera. These are the findings of a comprehensive study of intestinal microflora (gut flora) in allergic and healthy children, which was conducted at Link√ ping University in Sweden. One hypothesis is that our immune system encounters too few bacteria during childhood, which explains the increasing proportion of allergic children. However it has been difficult to substantiate the hypothesis scientifically. "We conducted the study in collaboration with Karolinska Institute and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology which substantiates the so-called hygiene hypothesis. Children acquire intestinal microflora from their environment, and in our society they are probably exposed to insufficient bacteria that are necessary for the immune system to mature", says Thomas Abrahamsson, paediatric physician and a researcher at Link√ ping University.
A small study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and Duke University shows that eating higher doses of milk protein in the form of dry powder substantially outperforms lower-dose therapy a few drops of liquid milk extract under the tongue for treatment of food allergies. Both approaches are designed to give allergic children progressively higher doses of milk protein, a strategy to retrain their immune systems to tolerate the product. Overall, half of the 30 patients in the study were able to take 8 grams of milk protein the equivalent of 8 ounces of liquid milk without any sign of allergic reaction at the end of the two-year trial, but a comparison of the two approaches showed the dry milk route to be superior. Most children treated with the dry-milk approach could eventually introduce real amounts of milk in their diets with fewer and milder reactions over the course of the two-year trial.