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April 01, 2011

Possible Novel Cure for Cat Allergy?

A research team in Canada has developed a possible cure for patients suffering from cat allergy using a novel type of allergy shot called peptide immunotherapy.

To understand the significance of this development, one needs to understand how traditional allergy shots are made. Currently, allergy companies purify a protein called Fel d1 from cats and make a vial out of it. This purification process is like removing the corn kernels from a cornstalk to put into a can to sell at the supermarket.

Peptide immunotherapy as described in this new research is like making the "essence" of the corn kernel in the lab. For this cat vaccine, the key molecule created is a 7 amino acid long peptide sequence.

The benefits of this novel treatment is the lack of side-effects when the shots are administered (meaning, no waiting around after the shot)... and only four to eight shots per year are required (rather than the weekly injections with current allergy shots).

The optimal dose to use is currently being determined in phase three clinical trials.

Reference:
Development and preliminary clinical evaluation of a peptide immunotherapy vaccine for cat allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011 Jan;127(1):89-97, 97.e1-14.
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. Google+ Christopher Chang, MD Bio

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