Man, food allergies can be annoying. You think something’s safe to eat, it turns out to have a tiny bit of peanut in it, then your throat closes and you die. What an inconvenience.
Well, scientists at Johns Hopkins University may have found a way to desensitize people to food allergies, with a technique that has proven very effective at not killing mice. They’ve found that they can teach immune cells in the gastrointestinal tract to become immune to certain food proteins by exposing them to modified forms of those proteins. The immune cells are the lamina propia dendritic cells (LPDC) and they have receptors (SIGNR1) that bind to certain types of sugars. By taking the food proteins that trigger the allergies and modifying it to contain those sugars, the proteins bind with the SIGNR1 receptors and the cells become desensitized to those proteins…and eventually proteins that weren’t modified. So, no inconvenient nut death.
The trials have so far worked with mice, which showed some minor form of allergic reactions (including puffy eyes and snouts), but didn’t suffer from the major allergies that the control group suffered from (including being dead).