Getting closer to a nickel allergy cure?

Researchers in Germany have made a major breakthrough in the work towards an eventual cure for nickel allergy.  The exact mechanism that causes nickel allergy has been a mystery until now.  German scientists have discovered that a specific receptor, called a “TLR4”, sends out a distress signal as soon as it comes in contact with nickel.

Why is this important?  Now that a specific pathway has been discovered research can focus on blocking that specific immune response, it is no longer a “moving target”.  In addition, research has always been hindered by the fact that mice are NOT allergic to nickel so they were useless as test subjects.  Now that researchers know which protein sequences act as the alarm bell they have been able to turn this on in mice.  Now that mice can be made allergic to nickel research on cures can be accelerated.

Another benefit would come from the fact that nickel allergy has a genetic “foot-print”.  Since there is a specific genetic pathway that causes nickel allergy there could soon be a genetic test available.  Imagine knowing your child is allergic to nickel before becoming exposed to nickel and creating a permanent nickel allergy response!

If you want to read more about this exciting discovery click here.

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