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Philadelphia – Any cat lover who has seen an allergic friend react to their beloved pet knows the power of darkness in the fur of the beautiful cat. Within minutes, allergic people exposed to cats can start sneezing and wheezing. Water and itching in the eyes. The misery is obvious.
Solutions for people who want to stay around cats despite allergies are labor intensive, suspicious, and sometimes unconventional. If we all try to bathe our cats frequently, how many trips to the emergency room are enough?
This plight fired the imagination of researchers looking for a lucrative market for better solutions in a country with more than 50 million cats in more than 20 million households. Some scientists are now taking different approaches to treating pet allergies in humans. Instead of trying to change an allergic person or his surroundings, he is trying to change a cat.
Purina began competing in cat food (Pro Plan LiveClear) at the start of the pandemic. This reduces the amount of protein that most allergy sufferers react to after 3 weeks by 47%.
“For me as a veterinarian, this is a groundbreaking and innovative animal feed,” says Kurt Venator, chief veterinarian at Prina. “We really believe this will help cats and people get closer to each other.”
Another Swiss research group is working on a vaccine against a problematic protein called Fel d 1. A team from Indoor Biotechnologies in Virginia is studying CRISPR gene editing techniques to turn off the genes that make up Fel d1. Several years have passed since fruit formation.
Indoor Biotechnologies primarily detects, tests and cleans allergens. Martin Chapman, President and CEO, has been interested in cat allergens for a long time, but the fake company that sold fake hypoallergenic cats until around 2015 really got a lot of attention.
Chapman, a former professor of medicine and microbiology at the University of Virginia, said:
Some cats come to animal shelters because their allergy sufferers couldn’t live with them, but allergists say that many cats often prefer their cats over their comfort. It was. They said that allergic cat owners rarely give up cats or remove them from their bedrooms.
Patrick Gleason, an allergist at the University of Pennsylvania, said, “I think this product has a huge market,” he added of the new cat food.
According to Venator, one of the owners of allergic cats who joined the Prinafocus group bought a new sofa every six months so he could remove the allergen from his home and keep it.
Problems that affect millions
Cat allergies affect 10 to 20% of adults. Over 90% of them respond to Fel d 1. About 5% of adults are allergic to dogs, and many substances are implicated in these allergies. As a result, dog remodeling becomes a more complex project. Researchers say allergies to fur-covered animals are on the rise.
Fel d 1 is produced in the salivary, skin and anal glands of cats and is found in tears. Cats spread it while cleaning. If they drop fur and scales, they can get tangled all over the house. The amount varies from cat to cat or even day to day, but all cats, including hairless cats, can do it. Bruce Kornreich, director of the Cornell Feline Health Center, said there is evidence that uncastrated males deserve more than females and neutered males. There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat.
And there is no way to completely escape Field 1. It’s on people’s clothes for work and school. “It’s everywhere,” said James Wedner, an allergist at Washington University in St. Louis. He once saw five allergy sufferers working in a brand new office building. There was no cat. He checked the building for mold, cockroaches and mice, but found nothing. Then he found the “incredibly high level” of field 1. He said other workers had brought it with them.
Nobody knows what role Fel d 1 plays in the cat’s body. Therefore, efforts to get rid of Fel d 1 should be studied for its effects on cats. Kornreich said there is speculation that Fel d1 could protect the skin from pathogens. Another possibility is that it is involved in chemical signaling. Nicole Brackett, postdoc at Indoor Biotechnologies, has sequenced the genes that make up Fel d1 in 50 domestic cats and some large and wild cats. She said the genes are “not well preserved” in domestic cats. This indicates that the gene is likely not essential.
Purina says the test shows the food is safe.
There are already six types of LiveClear available, including weight management, the elderly, and a sensitive stomach. Chewy.com sells a £ 3.5 bag for $ 21.58. (A similar-sized bag of non-specialty cat food can cost less than $ 10.) Allergen-reducing kitten food will be out in September, Venator said.
The company’s novel approach began about 10 years ago when nutritional immunologist Ebenezer Satyaraj learned that her daughter was allergic to cats. He found that chickens produce antibodies against Fel d1 in eggs. The company added antibodies to cat food. The resulting diet was neutralized to about half the Fel d1 produced by some cats.
Of course, treated cats still make Fel d 1, so people with allergies may not feel better around them. However, Wedner said that high allergen doses generally cause more symptoms.
But Prina’s new food is “showing promise,” said Gleason, who said doctors “don’t really know how much allergen reduction it takes to relieve symptoms”.
He said doctors often recommend getting rid of cats – most patients don’t – or washing them weekly. “I’m not talking to the patient who actually did it,” he said. You can also remove the plaque, vacuum frequently, and get a HEPA air purifier. And they can try allergic syringes. “This is another area where the evidence isn’t very good,” Gleason said. Then there is medicine.
Wedner led a small study at the University of Washington, funded by Purina, to ensure that some allergy sufferers use blankets for cats that ate LiveClear and cats that ate other foods. I’ve found it can be detected. These heroic volunteers sat for three hours with blankets in a closed room growing tomatoes. Her allergic symptoms were monitored every 15 minutes.
Wedner recently completed a large study of real cats in people’s homes. He could not publish the full results because they have not yet been published, but he said, “Patients are better off eating than without.”
He also said that patients who did not take part in the study voluntarily said that the food helped them.
Elizabeth Knighton, a veterinarian with City Cat Vets in Philadelphia, said her mother was allergic to cats. “I wanted a cat for the rest of my life, but I couldn’t keep one until I was 11,” she said. Her mother did not let cats in her room and had to do allergy shots. “She always used an inhaler,” Knighton said.
She mentioned the new Purina food to some customers. “I don’t have any feedback yet because it’s so new,” she said. “I would like to know if I am recommending something that works.”
Vaccines and gene editing are imminent
Saiba Animal Health, a Swiss company originally known as HypoPet, takes a completely different approach. We are working on a vaccine that changes the cat’s immune system against the Feld1 protein. According to the company’s research, the HypoCat experimental vaccine reduced field 1 of cat tears and relieved symptoms of 10 allergic cat owners.
Cyber also wants to make vaccines for dogs.
Kornreich said one concern about this type of vaccine is an incorrect immune response. “There is always a concern that the immune system may be stimulated and begin to neutralize things that are of no interest,” he said.
In terms of the genetic approach, Indoor Biotechnologies Brackett achieved an efficiency of 55% in eliminating Fel d 1 in cat cell lines. That’s a good price, she and Chapman said. “Cat cells are notorious for being difficult to handle,” said Bracket.
The next step is to see if you can reduce allergens in your cat’s salivary glands. Next up, there is a really difficult part. It’s about thinking about how to give gene therapy to embryos and adult cats. You will be on the lookout for techniques that have been tested by other CRISPR researchers.
“At this point, CRISPR seems to be a serious obstacle,” says Chapman.
Philadelphia veterinarian Knighton said that special foods that neutralize field 1 after the cat is made is more comfortable than making significant biological changes to the cat. “I’m very careful with anything that tells your body to attack something your body is doing,” she said.
Some scientists are now taking different approaches to treating allergies in human pets. Instead of trying to change an allergic person or his surroundings, he is trying to change a cat. Purina began competing in cat food (Pro Plan LiveClear) at the start of the pandemic. This reduces the amount of protein that most allergy sufferers react to after 3 weeks by 47%.
Treatment can be cat food, vaccines, or genetic changes