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Novel Vaccines for Allergen-specific immunotherapy of Ragweed pollen Allergy

Final Report Summary - NOVARA (Novel Vaccines for Allergen-specific immunotherapy of Ragweed pollen Allergy)

The aim of the project “Novel Vaccines for Allergen-specific immunotherapy of Ragweed pollen Allergy” is two-fold: (1) to develop the heterologous expression of hypoallergenic pectate lyases from ragweed and mugwort pollen and (2) to characterise the allergenic and immunogenic effect of these proteins for use as putative vaccine candidates for allergen-specific immunotherapy.
Ragweed is considered highly allergenic since very low pollen concentrations are sufficient to trigger allergic symptoms in sensitized individuals, including hay fever, asthma, contact dermatitis and anaphylaxis. Short ragweed or common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia or Ambrosia elatior) is widespread especially across the United States, Canada and Europe, where it is particularly abundant in France, North Italy, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Bulgaria. Amb a 1 is the major allergen of ragweed pollen which cross-reacts with Art v 6 from mugwort pollen at the IgE and T cell level. Both proteins comprises of two chains, the alpha-chain featuring all the requirements of a hypoallergenic molecule i.e. low IgE reactivity and maintained T cell reactivity, and could therefore be considered a naturally occurring hypoallergen. However, plant derived members of this family are difficult to produce in a heterologous recombinant form and consequently are not available for therapy. Therefore, clinically relevant, well defined hypoallergenic variants are needed for the development of better reagents for immunotherapy with minimised risk of anaphylactic side effects and shorter regimens compared to the variable biological extracts.