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ALLERGIES A single treatment giving life-long protection from severe allergies such as asthma could be made possible by immunology research conducted at the University of Queensland.

The main challenge during allergies is that the immune cells, known as T-cells, develop a form of immune 'memory' and become very resistant to treatments.

Researchers have now been able wipe the memory of these T-cells in animals with gene therapy, by de- sensitising the immune system so


BREAKTHROUGH AstraZeneca and MedImmune, its global biologics research and development arm have reported positive results for a cancer drug it has been trialling.

The immunotherapy drug, known as Durvalumab and also by the brand name Imfinzi, has been shown to reduce the risk of death in patients with advanced lung cancer. The trial demonstrated the halted progression in stage three patients taking part in the study.

Sean Bohen, Chief Medical Officer at AstraZeneca, said: “These are highly encouraging results for patients with locally-advanced lung cancer

that it tolerates the protein.

During the study, blood stem cells were taken, specific gene was inserted which regulates the allergen protein and injected into the recipient. Those engineered cells produced new blood cells that expressed the protein and targeted specific immune cells, thereby 'turning off' the allergic response.

Researchers are moving further to subject these finding to pre-clinical investigation, with the next step being to replicate results using human cells in the laboratory.

This research has been funded by the Asthma Foundation and the National Health and Medical Research Council.

for whom surgery is not an option. We look forward to working with regulatory authorities around the world to bring Imfinzi to lung cancer patients as soon as possible.”

Imfinzi has already been approved in the US for use by advanced bladder cancer patients and AstraZeneca said it was talking to regulators about licensing submissions for lung cancer treatment.

Stage three lung cancer represents approximately one third of Non-small- cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) incidence and was estimated to affect around 100,000 patients in the G7 countries in 2016. About half of these patients have tumours that are unresectable. The prognosis remains poor and long- term survival rates are low.

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