Nasal vaccine suspends peanut allergies in mice. Could humans be next?

Imagine a vaccine that can “turn off” peanut allergies, an allergic reaction which affects more than 3 million people in the United States alone. Thanks to research carried out at Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center at the University of Michigan, such a dream might become a reality.

Researchers at the institution have developed a special nasal vaccine, and demonstrated its efficacy in mice. The vaccine is a nanoemulsion capable of increasing the body’s natural immune response. After just a few monthly doses of the vaccine, mice were temporarily protected from allergic reactions after peanut exposure. This immunization against the reaction continued for two weeks after the final dose of vaccine had been administered. The exact duration is still being investigated.

“Our group is working towards the development of vaccines as a safe and long-lasting immunotherapies to treat food allergy,” Jessica O’Konek, a research investigator at the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center, told Digital Trends. “We studied our experimental vaccine in mouse models of peanut allergy and found that three doses of the vaccine changed the immune responses to peanut, suppressing the components of the response that are known to result in allergic reactions. Importantly, mice that received the vaccine had significantly less severe reactions to peanut exposure compared to mice that received the placebo. These results are exciting because they demonstrate that just three doses of a vaccine can confer protection from allergic reactions to peanut.”

While this work has currently only been conducted with mice, it is a potentially significant advance which may one day be carried over to humans. Interestingly, mice with an allergic response to peanuts exhibit similar symptoms to humans, including itchy skin and difficulty breathing.

“We are currently testing how long the protection induced by the vaccine lasts, as well as expanding our studies to include other food allergens,” O’Konek continued. “We are also further investigating the mechanisms by which this vaccine works, and are hopeful that we will move this forward towards clinical trials in humans.”

A paper describing the work, “Nanoemulsion adjuvant-driven redirection of TH2 immunity inhibits allergic reactions in murine models of peanut allergy,” was recently published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Gaming

The history of Battle Royale: From mod to worldwide phenomenon

Battle royale games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds’ and Fortnite have become the biggest trend in video games. The genre is also pushing the envelope in streaming and eSports in a way that might hint at the future of the industry.
Computing

Detangle your desk with a mighty wireless mouse. Here are our six favorites

If you're looking for the best wireless mouse on the market, we've got the list for you!. These six models have something for everyone, whether you're a hardcore gamer or simply looking to ward off carpal tunnel.
Mobile

Give Rachael Ray a run for her money with these 13 recipe apps

You don’t have to be Gordon Ramsay to make a killer meal, you just need an easy to follow recipe app. We’ve compiled our 13 favorite cooking apps for Android smartphones and iPhones, including countless recipes to suit any taste.
Emerging Tech

CRISPR gene therapy regulates hunger, staves off severe obesity in mice

Researchers from UC San Francisco have demonstrated how CRISPR gene editing can be used to prevent severe obesity in mice, without making a single edit to the mouse's genome. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Bright ‘hyperactive’ comet should be visible in the sky this weekend

An unusual green comet, 46P/Wirtanen, will be visible in the night sky this month as it makes its closest approach to Earth in 20 years. It may even be possible to see the comet without a telescope.
Emerging Tech

Meet the MIT scientist who’s growing semi-sentient cyborg houseplants

Elowan is a cybernetic plant that can respond to its surroundings. Tethered by a few wires and silver electrodes, the plant-robot hybrid can move in response to bioelectrochemical signals that reflect the plant’s light demands.
Emerging Tech

Gorgeous images show storms and cloud formations in the atmosphere of Jupiter

NASA's Juno mission arrived at Jupiter in 2016 and has been collecting data since then. NASA has shared an update on the progress of the mission as it reaches its halfway point, releasing stunning images of the planet as seen from orbit.
Emerging Tech

Beautiful image of young planets sheds new light on planet formation

Researchers examining protoplanetary disks -- the belts of dust that eventually form planets -- have shared fascinating images of the planets from their survey, showing the various stages of planet formation.
Emerging Tech

Delivery robot goes up in flames while out and about in California

A small meal-delivery robot suddenly caught fire in Berkeley, California, on Friday. The blaze was quickly tackled and no one was hurt, but the incident is nevertheless a troubling one for the fledgling robot delivery industry.
Emerging Tech

High-tech dancing robot turns out to be a guy in a costume

A Russian TV audience was impressed recently by an adult-sized "robot" that could dance and talk. But when some people began pointing out that its actions were a bit odd, the truth emerged ... it was a fella in a robot suit.
Emerging Tech

MIT’s smart capsule could be used to release drugs in response to a fever

Researchers have developed a 3D-printed capsule which can monitor patients' vital signs, transmit this information to a connected device, and release drugs in response to symptoms.
Emerging Tech

‘Crop duster’ robot is helping reseed the Great Barrier Reef with coral

In a world first, an undersea robot has delivered microscopic coral larvae to the Great Barrier Reef. Meet Larvalbot: the robot "crop duster" which dispenses coral babies on troubled reefs.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.