Cat Allergy Treatment Could be Revolutionary
Having a cat allergy can be a distressing problem for cat lovers who have feline family members and for individuals who would like to have a cat but are discouraged by allergy symptoms. But cat allergies may have met their match if current research continues on its present path.
Do you have a cat allergy?
Approximately 10 percent of people in the United States are allergic to pets, with cat allergies twice as common as dog allergies, according to WebMD. If you are allergic to cats, you probably recognize the symptoms: wheezing, runny eyes, itchy eyes, red skin when a cat has licked or scratched you, and perhaps a rash or hives on your face or chest.
What you are reacting to are the proteins in a cat’s urine, dried skin (dander), and/or saliva. People with a cat allergy have an immune system that is hypersensitive to these proteins, and an allergic reaction is triggered.
New cat allergy treatment
Help may be on the way, according to Mark Larche, PhD, professor of medicine at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University and Canada Research Chair in Allergy and Immune Tolerance. Larche presented the results of a clinical trial concerning cat allergies at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in San Antonio, Texas.
A total of 202 individuals were administered four doses of either a placebo or treatment for cat allergies over a three-month period. After 24 months, 50 of the individuals returned for an evaluation of their allergy symptoms while being exposed to cat allergens.
Even after two years, individuals who had received the treatment experienced fewer symptoms. According to Larche in a Medical News Today article, “Sustaining such a substantial improvement in patients’ allergy symptoms two years after the start of the study is remarkable.”
How remarkable? Larche went on to note that the results of the trial “suggest that the therapy has the potential to revolutionize treatment for cat allergy patients.”
People with a cat allergy may have to tolerate some sneezing and itchy eyes for a while longer, however. Larche noted that if research continues to provide positive results, the new cat allergy treatment could be on the market in about two years.
In previous research, scientists at the University of Nottingham made an important discovery concerning cat allergy. They found a receptor on certain cells that plays a major role in triggering allergic reactions to cat dander. This information could also help further the search for effective ways to treat allergies, including cat allergies.
If the new therapy does become available, that could be great news not only for cat lovers but for many of the cats abandoned to animal shelters that need homes. In that case, the new cat allergy treatment could be revolutionary on a different level as well.
Hafner R et al. Two year persistent treatment effect achieved after 4 doses of cat-peptide antigen desensitization (Cat-PAD) in an environmental exposure chamber (EEC) model of cat allergy. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2013 Feb; 131(2): Suppl. AB147
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