Friday, January 04, 2008

Researchers identify possible target to stop, block allergy-induced anaphylaxis

I find this extremely interesting. Perhaps in a few years we will see new products in pharmacies based on this enzyme.

From the Canadian Press:
An enzyme found in the blood seems to decrease the severity of allergic reactions, suggesting a way to develop drugs to protect against life-threatening allergies to foods such as peanuts or shellfish or reactions triggered by certain drugs or insect stings, new Canadian-led research suggests.

The study, published in Thursday's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that people with low levels of PAF acetylhydrolase had more severe allergic reactions than people with higher levels of the enzyme in their blood.

The enzyme breaks down PAF (platelet-activating factor), a chemical produced by the body as part of a severe allergic response.

"For those of us who have higher levels of the acetylhydrolase, we can efficiently and rapidly inactive the PAF, which is harmful," said lead author Dr. Peter Vadas, head of the division of allergy and clinical immunology at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. ...more

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