French researchers demonstrate the effectiveness of a vaccine against allergic asthma in “humanized” mice. These results are in favor of the next step: clinical trials in humans and perhaps then an arrival in France.
Allergic asthma (caused by allergens that we breathe) is an inflammatory disease of the airways that affects 4 million French people. Of the french scientists from Inserm, CNRS, Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier University, Institut Pasteur and Neovacs are working on a vaccine against allergic asthma, Kinoid®. Their latest study published on February 17, 2023 in the journal allergy demonstrates that this vaccine is capable of producing antibodies that neutralize the proteins involved in allergic asthma in “humanized” mice. “We are thus paving the way a little further for the organization of clinical trials. We are currently discussing with all the partners of the project to set up these studies in humans” concludes Laurent Reber, Director of Scientific Research at theInserm.
In allergic asthmatics, exposure to allergens (house dust mites, pollen, etc.) causes overproduction of antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE) and proteins called “type 2 cytokines” in the airways (mouth, nose, throat, larynx, trachea and lungs). The researchers including Laurent Reber had already shown in a study published in May 2021 in the review NatureCommunications that this conjugate vaccine (a vaccine containing an antigen combined with a protein to increase its effectiveness) was effective in reduce symptoms of allergic asthma by producing antibodies against mouse “type 2 cytokines”. “Six weeks after the first injection of the conjugate vaccine, 90% of mice had high levels of antibodies. More than a year after the primary immunization, 60% of them still had antibodies capable of neutralizing the activity of cytokines“indicated the scientists. With a view to setting up clinical trials in humans, their study 2023 examined the effectiveness of this vaccine in humans. They thus have replaced cytokine genes in mice with human genes for these same proteins and have sensitized “humanized” mice to an extract of house dust mites. Results: The vaccine produced antibodies capable neutralize human “type 2 cytokines” for up to 3 months after injection. Moreover, the administration of the vaccine also reduced the symptoms of asthma in the “humanized” mice.
This vaccine could also target food allergies
“A vaccination against allergic asthma represents hope for long-term treatment of this chronic diseaseand beyond, a prospect of reducing allergy symptoms related to other factorssince this vaccine targets molecules [protéines] involved in different allergies“, emphasizes Pierre Bruhns, head of the Antibodies in Therapy and Pathology Unit at the Institut Pasteur in a communicated. Indeed, the proteins in question are also implicated in certain diseases such as atopic dermatitis and food allergy. To date, the corticosteroid inhalers are the first-line treatment for “classic” asthma. For the most severe cases, treatments based on therapeutic monoclonal antibodies targeting the proteins involved in the pathology exist but their cost is high and the mode of administration requires patients to receive injections often for life.
– New milestone reached in the development of an effective vaccine against allergic asthma, Institut Pasteur, March 7, 2023
– Vaccine targeting human IL-4 and IL-13 protects against asthma in humanized mice, Allergy, February 17, 2023
– Double vaccination against IL-4 and IL-13 protects against chronic allergic asthma in mice, Nature Communications, May 11, 2021