Québec Science honours RI-MUHC discovery
One of the top ten scientific breakthroughs of 2015 selected by Québec Science magazine was achieved by a team from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) led by Dr. Christine McCusker, researcher from the Translational Research in Respiratory Diseases Program of the RI-MUHC and allergist-immunologist at the Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC. Their innovative work, that attracted considerable media attention last spring, is featured in the current issue of Québec Science magazine.
"We studied a molecule called STAT6 that is important in the development of allergic response. In a collaborative effort, over several years, the team developed and tested a peptide (a small piece of protein) which blocks this STAT6 activity and teaches the immune system to tolerate allergens," says first author, Dr. Michael Husheem, MD, PhD in Dr. McCusker’s lab.
"What’s beautiful about our approach is that you do not have to couple the peptide with a specific allergen. Since it just nudges the immune system away from the allergic response, it will not matter if the child is exposed to pollen, cats or dogs. The immune system will simply not form an aggressive allergic reaction anymore," says Dr. McCusker.