SCIENTISTS FROM TRINITY College have said they have made a “significant breakthrough” in understanding the immune cells which play a vital role in diseases such as asthma and eczema.
Researchers from the Dublin university said they identified what they described as a ‘checkpoint’ “manned by these immune cells that, if barred, can halt the development of the lung inflammation associated with allergies”.
The work has just been published in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Journal of Experimental Medicine.
The team of scientists was led by Padraic Fallon of the School of Medicine in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute.
He said: “The discovery now provides a potential new target for drug developers on which to hone in. In theory, a drug that successfully regulates this newly pinpointed checkpoint would better control overly aggressive allergic responses.”
Fallon added that this identification of an early stage cellular checkpoint has “important implications for the development of new therapeutic approaches” for asthma and other allergic diseases.
First author of the paper, Dr Christian Schwartz, said she believes that the more scientists learn about these cellular networks, the more possibilities they will be able to “create for intervention”.