Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase (BTK) Inhibitors Could Prevent Anaphylaxis in People With Food, Drug Allergies; Drug Would Be First Known Treatment to Prevent Anaphylaxis

For someone with a food or drug allergy, the risk of life-threatening anaphylactic shock lurks around every corner. A new Northwestern Medicine study shows there might be a pill that can be taken proactively to prevent mild to life-threatening anaphylaxis, no matter the cause. Results of the new study were published online on June 2, 2020 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The article is titled “Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase Inhibition Effectively Protects Against Human IgE-Mediated Anaphylaxis.” Anaphylaxis ( is a severe, potentially life-threatening systemic allergic reaction that can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure to an allergen. It occurs in about 1 in 50 Americans, though many believe the rate is higher (closer to 1 in 20), according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. If a person's blood pressure drops so low during anaphylaxis or their airway closes up enough that they can't get enough oxygen to their organs, they enter anaphylactic shock. The drugs used in this study are known as BTK inhibitors. BTK stands for an enzyme called Bruton's tyrosine kinase (image), which is found inside cells, including mast cells. The reason BTK inhibitors work to block allergic reactions is that by inhibiting, or blocking, the BTK enzyme, the mast cells cannot be triggered by allergens and allergic antibody to release histamine and other allergic mediators. The study used three different BTK inhibitors, which blocked allergic reactions when tested on human mast cells in a test tube. Additionally, the study used one U.S.
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