Allergies may soon be history
Allergy drugs may reach new levels of development as researchers from University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital have identified numerous target molecules which are suitable for the cause.
Traditionally, drug therapy for allergy is based on the use of non-sedative antihistamines, i.e. blocking of the histamine H1 receptors, but sometimes additional help is obtained from blockers of the cysteinyl leukotriene receptor-1.
However, even high doses of H1 antihistamine drugs aren't enough to alleviate the symptoms of some patients. This is understandable, as when the mast cell becomes activated, several other strong mediators besides histamine get released, too. Histamine can also affect other receptors of the cell surface than the H1 receptor, explains Professor Ilkka Harvima of the University of Eastern Finland.
Over the past years, researchers have identified several mast cell molecules which can be targets of new drugs. Several of these have already proceeded to clinical trials and new drugs targeting the histamine H4 receptor are also undergoing clinical trials. In the near future, it is possible that drug therapy for allergy is a combination of H1 and H4 receptor blockers.
Several target molecules have also been identified in intracellular signalling pathways and in cell survival proteins. Inhibiting these molecules can lead to the prevention of activation of the cell and to the prevention of mediator release. Various receptors which can either activate or inhibit the cell have been identified on cell surface. Different drug molecules make it possible to affect the function of these receptors and, consequently, to prevent cell activation and mediator release.
The extensive review article on the study is published in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
(Posted on 13-05-2014)