Instead of years of allergy shots that may only marginally reduce their symptoms, hayfever victims may soon be closer to getting substantially more effective control of their allergic problems with just six shots in six weeks.
The results of a new clinical study by Johns Hopkins researchers show that an experimental immunotherapy for severe ragweed allergy dramatically reduces allergic symptoms, such as runny noses, sneezing, nasal congestion and itchy, watery eyes. The new treatment nearly eliminates the need for relief medications such as antihistamines and decongestants and is substantially safer than conventional allergy shots, the scientists report.
Our studies represent a major advance in the development of new treatments for allergic disease, says Peter Creticos, M.D., associate professor of medicine at Hopkins and principal investigator of the study using a drug produced by Dynavax Technologies Corporation of Berkeley, CA.
In an abstract scheduled for presentation March 2 at a special late-breaking session at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology meetings in New York, Creticos described experiments of the drug on 25 adults with chronic, severe ragweed allergy.
Current immunotherapy for ragweed allergies typically requires a tedious six-month build-up phase of shots, with subsequent maintenance injection therapy over three to five more years. This study demonstrates that we can induce a clear clinical response in ragweed-allergic patients with a brief six-week, six-injection regimen, Creticos says. There is also the risk of developing a serious allergic reaction to allergy injections, but the new drug was well tolerated by patients and caused no systemic allergic reactions, according to Creticos.
The new immunotherapeutic drug, called AIC (Amb a 1 ISS Conjugate), is created by attaching immune-boosting molecules, or oligonucleotides, to the major ragweed protein responsible f
Contact: Trent Stockton
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions