A hybrid molecule designed to block cat allergies has successfully prevented allergic reactions in laboratory mice and human cells, promising new treatments for a range of human allergies.
The injectable treatment stops the release of histamine, the chemical that brings on allergy symptoms such as sneezing, wheezing, itching and watery eyes. Immune cells in people allergic to cats produce histamine in response to proteins found in cat saliva and dander.
The treatment, developed by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, comprises a molecule containing a feline and human protein.
On one end is the protein Fel d1 that provokes allergic reactions to cats. On the other is a human antibody called IgG Fcf×1 that docks to a cell surface protein that interrupts the allergic response.
Called GFD for gamma feline domesticus, the hybrid molecule was first tested in blood donated by people allergic to cats.