Food allergies can be some of the worst, most deadly ailments a person can face. For those who are unprepared, a sudden attack can close off air passages and quickly land a person in the hospital, or worse.
The danger of allergies to food substances may finally see some relief, however. A new type of cell has been discovered by researchers, which can explain the presence of those reactions in some people. For those who suffer from food allergies in Atlanta and elsewhere, this news is welcome relief.
The study was conducted by scientists out of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and involved cell concentrations in mice as they relate to food allergies. It revealed the presence of a previously unknown type of cell which they refer to as MMC9 cells, or “IL-9-producing mucosal mast cells.”
The IL-9 in the cell name refers to a protein that when produced in large numbers can increase anaphylactic shock from food allergies. While scientists have long known about this protein, until now they didn’t know from where it came.
IL-9 is associated with the production of immunoglobulin E, or IgE, an antibody that is directly responsible for immune responses. These responses are what trigger allergic reactions to foods. While they are necessary for the body’s immune system to work, food sensitivity causes them to be created when they aren’t needed and in amounts that are sometimes dangerous. Roughly 40 percent of children have this kind of sensitivity, but less than 10 percent of those have it to a degree where anaphylactic shock is a risk.
As part of the study, the mice with elevated MMC9 cells were then treated with antibodies that eliminated those cells in the body. As a result, the food allergy symptoms decreased significantly. When the cells were returned, symptoms increased correspondingly.
While the research is still preliminary, the potential is there to provide relief to the millions of people out there who suffer from food sensitivity. It could perhaps even represent a step towards one day eliminating the problem altogether.
As it stands, scientists have yet to find the equivalent of MMC9 cells in humans. If they can identify that cell, they could potentially create blood tests for potential food allergies. This first step could then eventually lead to more effective treatments for the problem. This is exciting news for those who suffer from severe sensitivity to foods.
For now, however, a qualified Allergy doctor is the best bet for treating food allergies in Atlanta. Treatments such as medications and allergy shots can go a long way towards treating the problem when combined with lifestyle changes.
If you suffer from allergies to food, Atlanta ENT is here to answer any questions you might have. Take some time to read a bit more about what food allergies are and how they work. Then, give us a call for an appointment and consultation today.