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Medical News and Perspectives
May 11, 2005

Therapy Takes Wheeze Out of Cat Allergies

JAMA. 2005;293(18):2201. doi:10.1001/jama.293.18.2201

The roughly 10 million individuals in the US who are allergic to cats—a condition that can trigger asthma or rhinitis—may one day find relief from a therapy that couples the cat allergy–causing protein with a human protein.

The experimental therapy reduced the allergic response to cat allergens in cells taken from humans who are allergic to cats as well as in two distinct sets of mice with cat allergies, a team of researchers reported in Nature Medicine (Zhu et al. Nat Med. 2005;11:446-449). In addition to offering new hope for sniffling and sneezing cat lovers, the new technique provides proof of concept that such an approach might be used to treat food allergies, which cause 150 deaths annually, and other allergic reactions that cannot be treated with conventional therapies, said Andrew Saxon, MD, the chief of the Division of Clinical Immunology and Allergy in the School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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