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Vol. LXIV, No. 16
August 3, 2012
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Digest

Oral Immunotherapy Shows Promise as Treatment for Egg Allergy

Study shows that giving children and adolescents with egg allergy small but increasing daily doses of egg white powder holds the possibility of developing into a way to enable some of them to eat egg-containing foods without having allergic reactions.
Study shows that giving children and adolescents with egg allergy small but increasing daily doses of egg white powder holds the possibility of developing into a way to enable some of them to eat egg-containing foods without having allergic reactions.

Giving children and adolescents with egg allergy small but increasing daily doses of egg white powder holds the possibility of developing into a way to enable some of them to eat egg-containing foods without having allergic reactions, according to a study supported by NIH. The study results appeared online in the July 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Children with egg allergy are at risk for severe reactions if they are accidentally exposed to egg-containing foods,” said NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci. “Currently, the only way to prevent these reactions from occurring is for these children to avoid foods that contain eggs. While this relatively small study provides encouraging new information, it is important for the public to understand that this experimental therapy can safely be done only by properly trained physicians.”

The study is one of several federally funded trials of oral immunotherapy (OIT), an approach in which a person with food allergy consumes gradually increasing amounts of the allergenic food as a way to treat the allergy. Because OIT carries significant risk for allergic reactions, these studies are all conducted under the guidance of trained clinicians. Symptoms of allergic reactions can range from mild (hives, redness and itchiness of the skin) to severe (swelling of the back of the throat, trouble breathing, drop in blood pressure and faintness or dizziness).

The trial was conducted by the NIAID-supported Consortium of Food Allergy Research at clinical sites in five U.S. cities.

Study Shows Colon, Rectal Tumors Constitute Single Type of Cancer

The pattern of genomic alterations in colon and rectal tissues is the same regardless of anatomic location or origin within the colon or the rectum, leading researchers to conclude that these two cancer types can be grouped as one, according to The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project’s large-scale study of colon and rectal cancer tissue specimens.

In multiple types of genomic analyses, colon and rectal cancer results were nearly indistinguishable. Initially, the TCGA Research Network studied colon tumors as distinct from rectal tumors.

“This finding of the true genetic nature of colon and rectal cancers is an important achievement in our quest to understand the foundations of this disease,” said NIH director Dr. Francis Collins. “The data and knowledge gained here have the potential to change the way we diagnose and treat certain cancers.”

The study also found several of the recurrent genetic errors that contribute to colorectal cancer. The study, funded by NCI and NHGRI, was published online in the July 19 issue of Nature.

NIH Tools Facilitate Matching Cancer Drugs with Gene Targets

A new study details how a suite of web-based tools provides the research community with greatly improved capacity to compare data derived from large collections of genomic information against thousands of drugs. By comparing drugs and genetic targets, researchers can more easily identify pharmaceuticals that could be effective against different forms of cancer.

The newly updated software, called CellMiner, was built for use with the NCI-60, one of the most widely utilized collections of cancer cell samples employed in the testing of potential anti-cancer drugs. The tools, available free, provide rapid access to data from 22,379 genes catalogued in the NCI-60 and from 20,503 previously analyzed chemical compounds, including 102 Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs.

The study, written by scientists who developed the tools at NCI, appeared in the July 16 issue of Cancer Research.

“Previously, you would have to hire a bioinformatics team to sort through all of the data, but these tools put the entire database at the fingertips of any researcher,” said Dr. Yves Pommier of NCI’s Center for Cancer Research. “These tools allow researchers to analyze drug responses as well as make comparisons from drug to drug and gene to gene.”


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