New blood test for newborns to detect allergy risk

May 21, 2010, University of Adelaide
Professor Tony Ferrante. Photo by Chris Sprod.

(PhysOrg.com) -- A simple blood test can now predict whether newborn babies are at high risk of developing allergies as they grow older, thanks to research involving the University of Adelaide.

Professor Tony Ferrante, an immunologist from SA Pathology and the Children's Research Centre at the University of Adelaide, says the new marker may be the most significant breakthrough in allergy testing for some decades.

"A protein in the of newborns appears to hold the answer as to whether a baby will either be protected, or susceptible to the development of allergies later on," Professor Ferrante says.

Amounts of the cell signalling protein, called C zeta, are much lower in children at risk of allergies.

Professor Ferrante says the is far more effective than previous indicators, such as a family's clinical history, or measuring the allergy-inducing antibody IgE.

In collaboration with Professor Susan Prescott from the University of Western Australia and Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Professor Ferrante's research team has refined the new marker for allergy risk, originally discovered in 2007, but now modified to a simple and manageable blood test at birth.

The researchers are also looking at whether fish oil supplements given to both pregnant women and those who have just given birth can reduce the risks of the children developing allergies.

"There is evidence that the levels of this important protein increase with fish oil supplementation to protect against allergy development," Professor Ferrante says.

Australia has one of the highest allergy rates in the world, with 40% of children now suffering from , including food allergies, eczema, asthma and hay fever. These conditions frequently persist into adulthood, placing a heavy burden on the healthcare system.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Scientists gain new insight on how antibodies interact with widespread respiratory virus

February 22, 2018
Scientists have found and characterized the activity of four antibodies produced by the human immune system that target an important protein found in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), according to new research published ...

Study reveals how kidney disease happens

February 22, 2018
Monash researchers have solved a mystery, revealing how certain immune cells work together to instigate autoimmune kidney disease.

Past encounters with the flu shape vaccine response

February 20, 2018
New research on why the influenza vaccine was only modestly effective in recent years shows that immune history with the flu influences a person's response to the vaccine.

Building better tiny kidneys to test drugs and help people avoid dialysis

February 16, 2018
A free online kidney atlas built by USC researchers empowers stem cell scientists everywhere to generate more human-like tiny kidneys for testing new drugs and creating renal replacement therapies.

Study suggests expanded range for emerging tick-borne disease

February 16, 2018
Human cases of Borrelia miyamotoi, a tick-borne infection with some similarities to Lyme disease, were discovered in the eastern United States less than a decade ago. Now new research led by the Yale School of Public Health ...

Expanding Hepatitis C testing to all adults is cost-effective and improves outcomes

February 16, 2018
According to a new study, screening all adults for hepatitis C (HCV) is a cost-effective way to improve clinical outcomes of HCV and identify more infected people compared to current recommendations. Using a simulation model, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.