University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Departmental Seminar Programme, Department of Veterinary Medicine > Parasitic worms, IgE, immunity and allergy

Parasitic worms, IgE, immunity and allergy

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Parasite worms, such as schistosomes, still cause many millions of chronic debilitating infections amongst the rural poor in the developing world. Mass drug administration is the only current means to control these ‘neglected diseases’, but treated individuals, particularly children, become rapidly re-infected. By studying populations living schistosomiasis endemic areas, we do see the slow development of adult immunity, which is associated with IgE responses against allergen-like worm antigens. IgE is a major response in just two circumstances, exposure to metazoan parasites, including worms, and in the allergic diseases that have become epidemic in the developed world. The natural history of schistosomiasis in disease endemic African regions is providing new insights into the induction/regulation of IgE and its effector mechanisms, and into why only a small number of protein structural families act as environmental and food allergen targets for IgE-mediated allergic reactions. Such multi-disciplinary studies in disease endemic areas can contribute knowledge to help combat disease in both the developing and developed world.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminar Programme, Department of Veterinary Medicine series.

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