Researchers have taken the first step towards developing a vaccine againstdog allergies after identifying the molecules that caused immune reactions inpeople.

Scientists at Osaka Prefecture University have identified seven different dogallergens – molecules or molecular structures that bind to an antibody andproduce an unusually strong immune response that would normally be harmless.

“These seven are named Canis familiaris allergens 1 to 7 (Can f 1-7). Butwhile there are seven, just one, Can f 1, is responsible for the majority(50-75 percent) of reactions in people allergic to dogs. It is found in dogs’tongue tissue, salivary glands, and their skin.”

Researchers have not yet identified Can f 1’s IgE epitopes, which are theparts of the antigens that stimulate an immune response.

Takashi Inui, lead author of the study and professor at Osaka PrefectureUniversity, said they would like to be able to present small doses of theseepitopes to the immune system to train it to deal with them, similar to theprinciple behind any vaccine.

Using epitopes to produce a ‘hypoallergenic vaccine’ would not only be aworld-first for dog allergies but is very rare with respect to any allergicreaction.

If the principles behind the work prove to be successful, they could be usedin a much wider sense to combat against various other allergies.

Tagged: dog allergies

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