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Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Protein That Suppresses Anaphylaxis?

In late November research was published suggesting that a protein called RGS13 may play a role in suppressing allergic reactions and anaphylaxis. The research showed that mice deficient in RGS13 had higher mast cell activity and a higher incidence of anaphylaxis.

This study has the potential to help scientists understand why some people develop severe food allergy and anaphylaxis, and could possibly lead to a treatment down the road.

"Because RGS13 is also a protein found in humans and is expressed in only a limited number of cells--including the immune system's mast cells that are central to allergic reactions--scientists believe the protein may be an attractive target for developing new drugs to treat and prevent certain allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis."

"We still do not know what triggers the allergic or anaphylactic reaction in some people," says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "These findings open up important research avenues, such as examining the role of RGS13 protein in humans to determine if its deficiency or abnormal function triggers the mast cells to release chemicals that cause allergic diseases."

Though it will be several years before this research is complete and any resulting treatment is commercialized, this is certainly encouraging news.

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