Good News If You Are a Cat Allergy Sufferer


Good News If You Are a Cat Allergy Sufferer

Good News If You Are a Cat Allergy Sufferer

Good News If You Are a Cat Allergy Sufferer

If you suffer from a cat allergy then you know how even the tiniest trace of a feline friend can result in coughing and sneezing. You might get itches or skin rashes but the super sensitivity can mean that a strong reaction is felt even if a cat has not been in the area for months or even years.

The good news is that if you have a feline allergy, there may be a treatment that blocks the body’s immune response. The possibility of a treatment comes from new understanding of why certain people have such a massive immune response. This is good news as some people with cat allergies can be so sensitive that they try not to leave their home.

A University of Cambridge team has identified how the body’s immune system detects cat allergen, leading to symptoms such as coughing and sneezing.

“New treatments to block this pathway raise hopes of developing medicines to protect sufferers, they say.

Allergy UK says the research is “a big step forward” in understanding how cat allergen causes allergic reactions.

Researchers led by Dr Clare Bryant of the University of Cambridge studied proteins found in particles of cat skin, known as cat dander, which is the most common cause of cat allergy.

They found that cat allergen activates a specific pathway in the body, once in the presence of a common bacterial toxin.

This triggers a large immune response in allergy sufferers, causing symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, sneezing and a runny nose.

Dr Bryant told BBC News: “We’ve discovered how the cat allergy proteins activate the host immune cells.

“By understanding the triggering mechanism, there are now drugs that have been designed that are in clinical trials for other conditions, such as sepsis, that could potentially then be used in a different way to treat cat allergy and to prevent cat allergy.”

The charity Allergy UK said the research, published in Journal of Immunology, was a big step forward in understanding how cat allergen causes such severe allergic reactions.

“Cat allergen is particularly difficult to avoid as it is a ‘sticky’ molecule that is carried into every building on people’s shoes and clothes,” said director of clinical services Maureen Jenkins.

“It can also still be found in a home, on the walls and ceiling or fittings, even a few years after a cat has ceased to live there.

“Therefore, this new information identifying the specific receptor interaction in the immune system could pave the way for treatments for those with persistent disease triggered by cat allergen and, in the future, potentially dog and house dust mite allergen.”

Allergic reactions happen when the immune system overreacts to a perceived danger.

Instead of responding to a harmful virus or bacteria, it misidentifies allergens, such as cat dander, and mounts an immune response.

The research was funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council.”

It is indeed interesting news that there may be drugs that are being developed for other uses that could be directly used to treat people with cat allergies. This would significantly cut down the time and expense required if a drug had to be developed from scratch. The long term view that this research could enable a range of treatments for common allergies is also an exciting possibility.

It is hoped that with the understanding about the protein immune response that useful treatment will be quick to get to the marketplace. I know that people that have a cat allergy really would benefit from not having to constantly on guard for their feline nemesis.

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