More than half of all Americans test positive for allergies, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. That’s a lot of sneezing, itchy eyes, and scratchy throats for one nation. Allergy vaccines help many patients cope with their symptoms, but the conventional method of injecting a patient with a small amount of the allergen may not work for others. A number of companies are working on alternatives to the traditional allergy shot.
Immunomic Therapeutics (ITI) of Gaithersburg, Maryland, develops next-generation vaccines for allergies, cancer and infectious diseases. ITI’s vaccines utilize LAMP platform technology, which was developed at John Hopkins University. LAMP (Lysosome-Associated Membrane Protein) is a gene that has been shown to enhance immune response when incorporated into a DNA vaccine. LAMP has successfully vaccinated against dengue fever, influenza, HIV and West Nile virus in animal models. The gene is also undergoing clinical trials for two types of cancers: prostate cancer and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In the video below, Dr. William G. Hearl, Founder and CEO of ITI, talks about the encouraging results that are coming out of the AML study.
ITI’s initial focus is the allergy market. The company’s first vaccine will target Japanese red cedar, the top allergen in Japan. A second vaccine will target short ragweed, the primary allergen in North America and Europe. Below, Hearl discusses his company with OneMedTV correspondent Alicia Ontiveros at the 2010 OneMedForum.