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Allergy shots (aka. allergen immunotherapy) help people adapt to allergens by injecting a gradually increasing doses of one or more allergens.

Does this procedure tell the body that this allergen is safe and there is no need to mount a response to it? In other words, does this mean that there will be no reaction at all rather than just a reduction in the allergic reaction.

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  • $\begingroup$ These question is obviously off-topic as it is asking for theoretical suggestions for curing a medical condition. Answers to this must, of their nature, be off-topic. This is a question and answer site, not a discussion site. $\endgroup$ – David Mar 14 at 11:50
  • $\begingroup$ @David — I tried to fix the question since it has a decent answer, do you think that helped? $\endgroup$ – tyersome Mar 14 at 17:49
  • $\begingroup$ @tyersome — OK but what are “allergy shots”. Are they low doses of the allergen? If so I would make that clear in the question. I would also change the title to something simpler like “How does treatment with low doses of allergen cure allergies?” $\endgroup$ – David Mar 14 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ @David — Thanks for the suggestions. Good enough now? $\endgroup$ – tyersome Mar 19 at 22:38
  • $\begingroup$ @tyresome — Fine. Thank you for your effort. I still think it is too medical, and I'm not sure the answer is really more than superficial. But it's rather water under the bridge. $\endgroup$ – David Mar 19 at 23:04
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But are there ways to tell the body that this allergy is safe and there is no need to amount a response to it?

Yes, that's what allergy shots (Exposure Therapy) does. Exposure Therapy is an effective, albeit sometimes imperfect, method of letting the body know that a substance is common and that it shouldn't mount a response to it. Over time the body re-calibrates itself to accept the allergen, although in some cases it's never fully accepted.

A complete "cure" can be attained via allergy shots, but the extent of the therapy's success will rely almost exclusively on the individual's immune system. Some people can be cured completely, others will never be cured.

If not, why not?

There will probably not be a general "allergy" cure anytime soon because we're still not 100% sure why the body responds in such an overprotective matter sometimes and not others. Even if we fully understood at some point, there are many ways which the immune system can go awry that result in allergies.

There isn't a single, double, or triple point of failure along the line - just about any immune cell, whether Mast, Eisonophile, T-Cell, T-Reg, B-Cell, etc. can misidentify a substance and contribute to an allergic reaction (although some are more likely candidates than others). More than that, just about any substance can become an allergen for people. There's a well-studied case of a woman who became allergic to Copper because of repeated exposure via an early version of IUD that she had implanted.

So with nearly every immune cell capable of mounting a response, and nearly anything in the world capable of provoking a response, the best route - at least thus far - has been repeated, increasing exposures to teach the body what is "OK" and what isn't. The absolute best way to avoid allergies later in life is to simply promote outdoor playtime and a widely variable diet to children while the immune system is operating at peak efficiency and learning capability.

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I have been thinking about this topic as well. A theoretical way (as you asked for) would be to kill all the immune cells which hold the (mistaken) memory of the specific allergen being dangerous. I haven't looked into it yet, but it would be interesting to see if post-chemotherapy patients had any changes with their allergies.

A future way of going at it might be to design specific killer cells to find and destroy only those immune cells with matching receptors (bait and kill).

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    $\begingroup$ This is a question and answer site about biological problems that allow objective answers. Only answer questions that conform to this type. This question invites speculation and is clearly off-topic. Your answer is such speculation and is only suitable for a discussion site which this is not. $\endgroup$ – David Mar 14 at 11:49
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Immune Amnesia

I have a speculative idea of how someone might start to turn off allergic reactions in the immune system.

I've read that the measles virus can cause "immune amnesia".

If biologists had a deep understanding of why this happened, then maybe they could use that understanding to wipe of immune memories that cause allergic reactions. Maybe they could use a genetically modified measles virus, maybe something else inspired by this.

I'm sure someone else must have thought of this before, but I haven't seen anything when I searched.

I think it would be an interesting beginning for a research project. But I'm not a biologist, so I wouldn't really know.

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    $\begingroup$ This is a question and answer site about biological problems that allow objective answers. Only answer questions that conform to this type. This question invites speculation and is clearly off-topic. Ideas — especially not crazy ones — are not suitable answers to any question. $\endgroup$ – David Mar 14 at 11:48

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