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Eyelid Protein is key to Allergy

                          One or the other allergies affect us sooner or later in life. Scientists have found a protein in the eye that plays a critical role in the development of an allergic response. Working on mice, the researchers found the protein - known as MIP-1a - plays a crucial role in the earliest stages of developing eye allergy. They believe the same protein, or similar molecules also play a similar role in the development of many other allergies. And they believe it should be possible to develop drug treatments to block the protein and thus prevent allergies from taking hold. Allergic responses develop in two phases. The first phase involves an immediate hypersensitivity reaction within one hour of exposure to an allergen. The second phase, which occurs 12 to 24 hours after exposure, involves the recruitment of inflammatory cells to the site of inflammation. The UCL team discovered that MIP-1a plays a key role in the early stages of an allergic response within the clear membrane that coats the inner surface of the eyelid and outer surface of the eye, known as the conjunctiva. MIP-1a was also necessary for the second phase of the disease, which is associated with chronic allergy. "Since we have found that MIP-1a is important for very early stages of allergy, the treatment may be more effective than drugs that work at late stages of the disease process, such as anti-histamines. This would however be a treatment and not a cure. However, we do have some evidence that the drug may be effective for longer periods of time than existing medications."




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