Grass, pollen, pet dander — these are just some of the triggers that can make allergy season so miserable. But help may be on the way for people whose allergies are set off by dust mites.
Researchers at the University of Iowa say they’ve recently completed development of a vaccine capable of holding off dust-mite allergies. Until now most treatments for dust-mite allergies have involved the use of inhalers or regular exposure (in an attempt to build up a resistance). But these strategies rarely provide long-term solutions and are not guaranteed to be successful.
The new trick, the University of Iowa researchers insist, is to manipulate the body’s typical response to dust-mite allergens by limiting inflammation, meaning an allergy patient will be less likely to suffer from a stuffy nose or congested airways.
Dr. Peter Thorne, a public health professor at the University of Iowa and one of the study’s lead researchers, says his team’s research provides a “novel approach” that involves “direct[ing] the immune system to suppress allergic immune responses.”
“This work suggests a way forward to alleviate mite-induced asthma in allergy sufferers,” Thorne added.
So far, lab tests have shown positive results. In most cases the vaccine was fully absorbed by the body and able to manipulate the typical (and very annoying) response to dust-mite allergies.
Dr. Aliasger Salem, a University of Iowa professor who worked closely with Thorne in carrying out the research, says he’s very excited about the vaccine’s potential. “This is exactly what we were hoping for,” Salem said.