RESEARCH NETWORK FOR NEW STRATEGIES IN IMMUNOTHERAPY
I1 - Development of novel vaccines against allergies
Issues of future research:
Since allergic disorders continue to be a major health hazard in the developed countries - 20-30% of the population are affected suffering from neurodermitis or asthma e.g. - novel strategies must be developed to protect from allergies . A promisimg approach seems to be the use of pseudocapsids (=capsoids), which are assembled by virusproteins of the the outer shell. Beeing part of the virus they will induce Th1 reactions. Epidemiologic studies show that Th1 reactions, induced by viral and bacterial infections during early infancy, seem to protect from the development of allergies, which are characterized by Th2 responses, later in life. Furthermore it will be investigated if the application of capsoids, which are loaded with allergen, will result in allergen specific Th1 immune responses.
The aim of this project is to establish a novel strategy to develop an effective and prophylactic vaccine against allergic disorders in humans, which is missing to date. The widespread use of inhaled corticosteroides and bronchodilators brings relief only, the method of hyposensibilisation is risk-prone. For the first time viruscapsoides are used to protect against the development of allergies. Although being part of virus, the capsoids are completely safe since they are free of genetic information. We hope that it will be possible in the near future to protect atopy-prone young children from allergies by prophylactic vaccination in early infancy.