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Allergy vaccine shows hay fever promise - health - 04 October 2006 - Print - New Scientist: "Allergy vaccine shows hay fever promise

* 22:00 04 October 2006
* news service
* Roxanne Khamsi

A six-week vaccine regimen appears able to reduce hay fever symptoms by 60% for at least two years, according to a preliminary study.

Researchers say the vaccine approach avoids the side effects of the steroids often used to treat allergies. And it gives a faster result than pollen injections, which condition the immune system over a course of several years, they add.

The vaccine, which uses snippets of DNA to train the immune system, has shown great promise in the new trial. “It is the first time the approach has been applied to this disease,” says Toshiaki Kawakami at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology in California, US.

It could offer a much needed alternative for patients who fail to respond to conventional therapies, such as antihistamines to control their allergic response, Kawakami says.
Immune cascade

About 40 million people in the US alone suffer from seasonal allergies – a condition commonly referred to as hay fever – which causes the body to produce excessive amounts of the immune chemical histamine. This leads to the characteristic hay fever symptoms, such as itchy eye"