Laboratory Focus is Canada's leading editorial-based lab publication. Providing readers with the latest technology updates through application and tech notes, as well as covering new products and trends in laboratories across Canada.
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R&D News ......................... 1 Appointments .................... 6 Pharma Notes .................... 7 New Products .................. 16 Calendar .......................... 17 App Reviews ..................... 18 P h a r m a c e u t i c a l c l i n i c a l c h e m i c a l f o o d e n v i r o n m e n t w w w . l a b o r a t o r y f o c u s . c a november/december 2016 volume 20, number 4 Publications Mail Registration Number: 40052410 new u of S immunotheraPy technique holdS PromiSe for curing food allergieS SASKATOON, SK – University of Saskatchewan (U of S) scientists have developed a new immu- notherapy technique that nearly eliminates the allergic response to peanut and egg white proteins in food-allergic mice, reducing the anaphylactic response by up to 90 per cent with only one treatment. "This discovery reverses food al- lergies in mice, and we have many people with allergies volunteering their own cells for us to use in lab testing to move this research forward," says professor John Gordon, lead scientist behind the discovery that appears in the cur- rent issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The findings open the door to test the treatment in "humanized mice" — mice with non-existent immune systems implanted with cells from a human immune system, for ex- ample, from a peanut-allergic per- son. With Health Canada approval, the first human trial could begin in about one year, Gordon says. "If we can reliably 'cure' food al- lergies, or related conditions such as asthma or autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis with this new therapy, it would be life- changing for affected individuals." The discovery involves generating a type of naturally occurring im- mune cell that sends a signal to re- verse the hyper-immune response present in allergic reactions. That signal triggers another "off switch" that turns off reactive cells further along the allergic pathway. "We predict the treatment could be on the market within the next five to 10 years," says Gordon, who is also a research leader in the Allergy, Genes and Environment (AllerGen) Network. AllerGen—part of the federally funded Networks of Centres of Excellence program — aims to help Canadians address the challenges of living with asthma, allergies, anaphylaxis and related immune diseases. Gordon's team will collaborate with other AllerGen investigators located at the U of S, McGill Univer- sity, Queen's University, McMaster University, and University of Alberta to pilot the new technique. There is already compelling evi- dence this technique could be ef- fective in humans. In 2010, Gordon's team demonstrated they could re- verse an asthmatic response in hu- man cells in a test tube. Using three applications of a similar therapy in a 2012 study, the researchers effec- tively eliminated asthma in afflicted mice, within only eight weeks. Paramagnetic bead based nucleic acid isolation Page 8 liquid transfer in cell culture with multipette® m4 repeater® m4 Page 14 Lead scientist John Gordon (foreground) and Wojciech Dawicki (background), first author of the article, in Gordon's lab at the U of S. (Photo credit: University of Saskatchewan) "Even if we only cure 25 per cent of subjects, we will dramatically im- prove the health of those individu- als, and also reduce healthcare sys- tem expenses," said Gordon, who worked with Wojciech Dawicki, a research associate and the primary author and lead researcher in this study. Master's student Chunyan Li and lab technicians Xiaobei Zhang and Jennifer Town also worked on the project. Gordon said the new technique also shows promise for treating autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis. "It would take very little to adapt the therapy for autoimmune diseases," he said. Funding for the research was pro- vided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the AllerGen Networks of Centres of Excellence. To see this story online visit http://www.laboratoryfocus.ca/ new-u-of-s-immunotherapy-tech- nique-holds-promise-for-curing- food-allergies/