Can parasite derived molecules be harnessed to prevent diseases?

Food allergy is considered the “second wave” of the allergy epidemic after asthma and allergic rhinitis.

Currently, the primary forms of therapy for food allergy are avoidance of trigger allergens, and the use of epinephrine for anaphylaxis.

With the prevalence of food allergy increasing rapidly in many countries and the complexity of building tolerance to food allergens without triggering anaphylaxis, it is essential to develop novel, safe therapeutics.

Helminths (parasitic worms) are known for inducing Th2 immune responses, however, they have been shown to confer protection against food allergens. It was previously demonstrated that Schistosoma mansoni egg (SEA) deposition can protect mice against penicillin V-induced anaphylaxis.

We aim to assess the safety and effectiveness of S. mansoni SEA-derived EVs as a potential therapeutic for shellfish allergy using tropomyosin as antigen model, and will furthermore provide novel insights into the molecular mechanisms by which S. mansoni SEA-derived EVs modulate host immune response.

Dr Athena Andreosso – Research Fellow