A natural protein that stops allergies and autoimmune conditions
Australian researchers say an “incredible” discovery could allow new treatments for asthma and prevent autoimmune diseases and life-threatening anaphylaxis. They have found a natural way the body stops rogue antibodies causing disease through a protein that stops allergies called neuritin. Professor Carola Vinuesa from the Australian National University said, “We found this absolutely fascinating mechanism of our own bodies that stops the production of rogue antibodies that can cause either autoimmunity or allergies.”
Non-stop allergies, life-threatening anaphylaxis, and crippling autoimmune diseases are products of a system designed to protect you that went haywire. As of yet, there are no cures to allergies and autoimmune diseases, but a new study may bring us a step closer to fixing the issues.
“There are over 80 autoimmune diseases, in many of them we find antibodies that bind to our own tissues and attack us instead of targeting pathogens – viruses and bacteria,” Dr Paula Gonzalez-Figueroa said. The researchers hope the discovery will now form the basis of new treatments.
The researchers say they set out over five years ago to bridge a knowledge gap on how the immune system works following an educated guess that neuritin might have a regulatory function in stopping allergies and autoimmune disease. Researchers, however, caution that they are yet to find out the definitive effects of neuritin (protein that stops allergies) on other cellular processes and have only scratched the surface. Although neuritin has been studied in human nervous systems for a while now, the exact way it affects and triggers cells remain a mystery.
“If this approach was successful, we would not need to deplete important immune cells nor dampen the entire immune system; instead, we would only need to use the proteins our own body uses to ensure immune tolerance.” If they’re right, and neuritin proves safe, it may one day allow the growing number of us facing allergies and autoimmune diseases some peace with our own bodies.