The UCLA-developed nanoparticle has sugars on its surface that selectively target specific liver cells (dark blue and pink shapes) and an mRNA payload that codes for a specific piece of protein (red). (Image: Nel lab/UCLA)
Peanut allergy is one of the most common. By some estimates, it affects 1 in 50 children, with the most severe cases leading to a life-threatening immune reaction called anaphylactic shock.
Currently, there is only one approved treatment that reduces the severity of the allergic reaction, and it takes months to work. A group of immunologists from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) intends to change this situation.
A team including Xiao Xu, Xiang Wang and André Nel, all from UCLA, among others, drew inspiration from some of the COVID-19 vaccines as well as their own research to create a first-of-its-kind nanoparticle that delivers messenger RNA (mRNA) to specific liver cells. Those cells, in turn, teach the body’s natural defenses to tolerate the peanut proteins.
In tests on mice, the nanoparticle not only reversed peanut allergies, it prevented them from developing.
“To the best of our knowledge, messenger RNA has never been used against an allergic disease,” Nel points out. “We have shown that our system may be able to alleviate peanut allergies, and we believe it could do the same for other food and drug allergens, as well as autoimmune conditions.”
Nel and his colleagues present the technical details of their nanoparticles in the academic journal ACS Nano, under the title “Use of a Liver-Targeting Immune-Tolerogenic mRNA Lipid Nanoparticle Platform to Treat Peanut-Induced Anaphylaxis by Single- and Multiple-Epitope Nucleotide Sequence Delivery”. (Source: NCYT from Amazings)
Nanopartículas para prevenir y tratar alergias | Noticias de la Ciencia y la Tecnología (Amazings® / NCYT®)