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05 Dec 2011 04:35 AM

La Jolla Institute Finds New Molecular Candidates For Treatment Of Asthma And Allergies


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. "What is most encouraging is the demonstration that the effect of HRF to enhance allergic responses can be blocked, thus suggesting the possibility of new therapeutic strategies in allergic diseases."



The research study points to the development of new therapies based on blocking HRF interactions with certain antibody (IgE) molecules, long known to be central causes of allergies. The new study also found two novel peptides (N19 and H3) as strong therapeutic candidates for blocking the HRF and IgE interactions. Peptides are protein pieces which spur various molecular actions. The two peptides inhibit the interactions of the HRF and IgE molecules, thereby stopping the allergic cascade in mouse models.



"Based on our preliminary studies, we believe these HRF inhibitors may provide a new, innovative therapeutic avenue for the treatment of asthma and some allergies," said Dr. Kawakami, lead scientist on the study, published online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.



Hannah Gould, Ph.D., a professor and prominent...
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