Breakthrough in Allergy Research – New Compound Expected to Improve Hay Fever Vaccinations

​Researchers of the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University in Finland have developed a molecule that is highly efficient in preventing inflammation in allergies, e.g. hay fever. The synthetic glycocluster molecule boosts the immunity system and mimics natural carbohydrate structures.

The compound could be used as a booster in allergy vaccinations and the researchers expect that it will significantly improve the quality of life and well-being at work for people who suffer from seasonal allergies and asthma.

The new booster is expected to greatly decrease the number of vaccines needed in the allergen immunotherapy as well as the costs of the treatment. The effectiveness of the molecule has been proven in a preclinical model that can reliably predict benefits also for allergy patients.

– The in vivo studies have proved that the compound is very effective, which indicates that the duration and amount of doses in immunotherapy could be reduced to a fraction of the current dosage. It is possible that the booster can be used in preventing allergic inflammatory response in humans as a part of immunotherapy, says Professor of Organic Chemistry Reko Leino from Åbo Akademi University.

At the moment, the universities are looking for a partner in co-operation for the next level of clinical trials so that the compound can be tested on humans.  The molecule and its use are protected by international patents.

– With the convincing recently obtained in vivo results, the commercialisation of the compound can happen quickly, even within months or at the latest during the next few years. At that phase, a pharmaceutical company starts producing medicine from the compound. Marketing the product, which will be a faster and cheaper immunotherapy medicine for people suffering from allergies, will take approximately 5–10 years, says Professor of Allergology Johannes Savolainen from the University of Turku, who leads the research project together with Professor Leino.

The compound's effect against seasonal allergies is superb compared to other vaccination boosters, which have adverse effects that can intensify the inflammation. The research group of Professor Harri Alenius from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki studied with in vivo experiments how the molecule suppressed allergic inflammation in hay pollen allergy. The researchers discovered that the compound prevented the development of allergic respiratory inflammation by studying the degree of long-term and chronic inflammation from bronchoalveolar lavage fluid.

Text: Jenni Valta
Translation: Mari

Published date 10/12/2015 10:30 AM ,  Modified date 10/12/2015 10:32 AM

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