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Allergy control with fewer shots

October 09, 2006|From Times wire reports

A new allergy treatment may offer long-term relief from the miseries of hay fever with only six weekly shots, instead of injections once or twice a week over three to five years.

Not only does the relief seem to last more than a year, but the technique also may be applied to other substances that spark allergic reactions, said Dr. Peter Creticos of the Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center in Baltimore.

"We're interested in grass, we're interested in dust mites, we're interested in cats," the researcher told Reuters.

The study involved 25 volunteers who experienced ragweed allergic problems each fall season. The treatment mixes a component of ragweed that sets off the allergic reaction with a synthetic chunk of DNA that stimulates the immune system.

Six weeks of shots, given before the 2001 ragweed season, produced more than a year of relief for 14 volunteers, gains not seen in the 11 who received placebo injections.

Not only did the drug recipients do better that fall, but they also scored better on measures of symptoms in the peak of the 2002 season.

The study was published in the Oct. 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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