Researchers Create Dust Mite Vaccine

Dust mites are widely responsible for allergic irritation and breathing difficulties, but researchers from the University of Iowa researchers indicated a vaccine may be within reach.

Attracted to skin cells, dust mites are widely responsible for allergic irritation and breathing difficulties. Fortunately, findings from University of Iowa (UI) researchers indicated a vaccine may be within reach.

The effects of dust mites can vary from allergic irritation to lung damage. Previous studies have shown that dust mites can be found in 85% of homes and cause breathing problems in 45% of asthmatics.

Currently, there is no long-term cure, with affected asthmatics using inhalers as a short-term remedy.

A July 1 issue of The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Journal announced the discovery of cytosine-phosphate-guanine motifs (CpG) located within poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) particles as a possible vaccination option. CpG, an immunity booster, has been used successfully in cancer vaccinations, according to a statement from UI .

To test its effectiveness, mice were given a CpG-antigen combination and exposed to dust mites for a 10-day period. Upon euthanization, the researchers measured the mice’s leukocyte accumulation in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluids, antibody profiles, and airway hyperresponsiveness.

The authors reported that PLGA particles used for vaccination significantly reduced inflammatory responses to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus-2 (der p2) antigen.

“This study shows that the size of PLGA particles used for vaccination plays a major role in the prevention of house dust mite-induced allergy and that incorporation of CpG into the PLGA particles preferentially develops a Th1-type immune response,” the authors wrote.

The university further reported that in animals the treatment resulted in an 83% decrease in lung inflammation after dust mite exposure. The 300 nanometer combination also achieved a 90% absorption rate.

“Our research explores a novel approach to treating mite allergy in which specially-encapsulated miniscule particles are administered with sequences of bacterial DNA that direct the immune system to suppress allergic immune responses," Peter Thorne, public health professor at the UI and a contributing author on the paper, said in a statement. "This work suggests a way forward to alleviate mite-induced asthma in allergy sufferers.”