A new study published in the Scientific Reports journal, reveals a team of chemical and biomolecular engineers from the University of Notre Dame, have developed a new test to accurately detect and identify the presence and strength of peanut allergies, without having to expose the patients to the allergen.
The team designed nanoparticles – which they have named ‘nanoallergens’ – that mimic natural allergens by displaying each allergic component one at a time on their surfaces. The nanoallergens are used to dissect the critical components of major peanut allergy proteins, and evaluate the potency of the allergic response using the antibodies present in a blood sample from a patient.
While the study was designed to focus on peanut allergens, the team are now working on testing it on additional allergens and other allergic conditions. The study reports that 8 percent of children under the age of 4 now have a food intolerance.
“The goal of this study was to show how nanoallergen technology could be used to provide a clearer and more accurate assessment of the severity of an allergic condition,” says Basar Bilgicer, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. “Ultimately, our vision is to take this technology and make it available to all people who suffer from food allergies.”
There is plenty of other work going on to help those suffering from allergies. A French company developed a portable device that administers a life-saving shot during an allergy attack, and – also in France – a restaurant has created a menu that is entirely free of 11 of the most common allergens. What other methods can help those who suffer with allergies?