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A new type of immune cells can cause lifelong allergies

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Brunette sneezing in a tissue in the living room

A groundbreaking breakthrough has been made in the field of allergies. Scientists have discovered a new subtype of immune cells called type 2 memory B cells (MBC2), which may hold the key to long-lasting allergies. These cells contain the protein that triggers allergic reactions and produce antibodies that cause allergy symptoms. Researchers believe that MBC2 cells have the potential to cure or treat allergies.


Allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to otherwise harmless substances like pollen or animal fur. This can result in the release of IgE antibodies, which can cause allergy symptoms. In the US, allergies affect around one-third of adults and one-quarter of children, and they can be seasonal or lifelong.


Memory B cells play a crucial role in long-term disease protection and produce IgG, an antibody that can defend the body against bacterial and viral infections. While researchers have long suspected that these cells may be involved in allergies, it is still unclear how they switch to producing IgE antibodies.


Two research teams have now discovered that MBC2 cells are present in people with allergies. The team studying adults analyzed over 90,000 cells from six people with birch allergies, four with dust mite allergies, and five with no allergies. The team studying children found that the level of MBC2 cells was higher in 58 kids with peanut allergies than in kids without allergies.


Both teams found that MBC2 cells are capable of switching from producing IgG to IgE antibodies, indicating that an allergic reaction may be imminent. This discovery could pave the way for new treatments to cure or treat allergies, bringing relief to millions of people worldwide

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About the Contributor
Mason Kim, Head of Department (Tech and Science)

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