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A Lifelong Cure For Allergies Could Be On Its Way

Odds are, you know someone who suffers from allergies.

Allergies can be as simple as watery eyes during the spring, and can be as severe as anaphylactic shock when you consume any type of nuts or dairy.

People who suffer from allergies are often living in fear, with epi pens on hand while diligently reading ingredient lists. It can cause people, especially kids, to feel left out when in large gatherings. No one should have to worry about an allergic reaction.

That's why this new discovery by scientists at the University of Queensland in Australia is so ground-breaking. They seem to have found a way to "turn off" allergies.

The scientists believe they have figured out to "turn off" the immune response which triggers allergic reactions, meaning reactions would stop all together.

"Learning how to turn off this immune response has been challenge for immunotherapy for a long time," Dr Steptoe said. "We haven't quite got it to the point where it's as simple as getting a flu jab, so we are working on making it simpler and safer so it could be used across a wide cross-section of affected individuals."

Allergic reaction symptoms occur when the immune cells, known as T-cells, react to the protein in the allergens. But this new therapy hopes to end that.

"The challenge is that these T-cells develop a form of immune 'memory' and become very resistant to treatments," Dr. Steptoe said. "We have now been able 'wipe' the memory of these T-cells in animals with gene therapy, de-sensitizing the immune system so that it tolerates the protein."

Continue to the next page to see what the new treatment would require and how soon we'll see it!

“Our work used an experimental asthma allergen, but this research could be applied to treat those who have severe allergies to peanuts, bee venom, shellfish, and other substances," says Dr. Steptoe.

As of now, the treatment has not been tested on humans. Dr. Steptoe and his team believe there are about 5 more years of lab work before human trials can be considered, and then another waiting period after that. The hope is that this treatment would be available within the next 10-15 years.  

“Kids with peanut allergies, for instance, could go to school without any fear of being contaminated from other kids’ food,” Professor Steptoe said.

The treatment itself is hoped to be as simple as a single injection. Picture the flu shot, except as a life-long cure for allergies!