New discovery may lead to new class of allergy drugs

If you've ever wondered why some allergic reactions progress quickly and may even become fatal, a new research report published in the February 2009 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology provides an important part of the answer. In the report, scientists from Queen's University of Belfast, University of Oxford and Trinity College Dublin show for the first time that eotaxin, a chemical that helps immune cells locate the site of infection, blocks basic "fighter" cells from transforming into "seeker" dendritic cells, resulting in a heightened allergic response.