Molecule May Offer Revolutionary Treatment for Asthma, Allergies

People who have asthma may be soon breathing a little easier thanks to a medical breakthrough in New Zealand involving a molecule called TSLP.

New Zealand scientific breakthrough could provide new allergy, asthma treatments

……At the centre of the new findings – published in leading scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – was a molecule that plays a big role in the initial development of an allergic response.

Scientists at Wellington-based Malaghan Institute of Medical Research were able to reveal the function of the molecule, Thymic stromal lymphopoietin, or TSLP, as part of the formation of T helper 2 (Th2) immune cells during an allergy……

Professor Franca Ronchese, who leads Malaghan’s immune cell biology programme, said the discovery meant potential therapies blocking the interaction between TSLP and Th2 cells could help in the suppression of damaging inflammation and allergic disease.

“For people with inflammatory conditions such as allergic asthma, a certain type of immune cells – known as Th2 cells – is responsible for making a number of factors or molecules that cause inflammation,” Ronchese explained.

“This excess inflammation can cause tissue damage, for example the inflamed and irritated skin of atopic eczema patients, or the typical shortness of breath experienced by asthma sufferers.”

How Th2 cells picked up the ability to make these factors and molecules that caused inflammation largely remained a mystery.

“What is not yet completely clear is how those Th2 cells that we find in the lung or the skin or the gut develop,” Ronchese said.

“When we look at the early stages of the immune response, Th2 cells look different, and don’t really produce any of these inflammatory molecules.

 

Read More at the New Zealand Herald
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