Indoor Biotechnologies Awarded $2.4 Million NIH Grant
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Dr. Anna Pomés, Indoor Biotechnologies Director of Basic Research, was recently awarded a five year, $2.4 million R01 grant by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID/NIH) to support her research on the molecular structure of allergens associated with asthma (dust mites, cockroaches, and pet allergens).
Inhalation of environmental allergens triggers allergic (IgE) antibodies on mast cells in the nose and lungs, which release histamine and other mediators that cause allergy and asthma symptoms. Dr. Pomés research has determined the complete structure of the most potent dust mite allergens and mapped regions on the surface that bind to antibodies.
The NIAID/NIH grant supports the next phase of the research which will locate specific amino acids on allergens that bind to IgE antibodies. These sites will then be genetically engineered to reduce their reactivity. Ultimately, the goal is to develop dust mite hypoallergens with reduced triggering capabilities which can be used in new allergy treatments. The hypoallergens will boost protective immune responses with fewer side effects compared to current therapy.
The team for this project will include leading scientists from academic medical centers. Indoor Biotechnologies collaborators include Professor Judith Woodfolk (Asthma and Allergic Diseases Center, University of Virginia), a leading expert on cellular responses to allergens in patients with asthma; Dr. Maksymilian Chruszcz (University of South Carolina), structural biologist and crystallographer; and Dr. Mats Ohlin (Lund University, Sweden) who will use combinatorial DNA libraries to produce the IgE antibodies to dust mite allergens.
Dr. Martin Chapman, President and CEO of Indoor Biotechnologies, and a Principal Investigator on the project, commented “This is an international collaborative effort to tackle one of the leading causes of allergic diseases worldwide. We are confident that Dr. Pomés team will define the molecular basis of mite allergen binding to IgE antibodies as a first step towards treatment using hypoallergens. NIH funding is highly competitive. Indoor Biotechnologies is grateful to the NIAID/NIH for their support of this cutting-edge translational research.”