A Visual Map for Allergies

Computer-based model used to study allergies

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A team of scientists at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have created a computer network model that organizes human genes and helps to detect allergic sensitivity.

More than half of all Americans are sensitive to one or more allergens, and approximately 50 million people deal with allergic diseases.

Recently, researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden developed new ways to identify diagnostic markers and provide treatment for allergic diseases. They have done this by analyzing "microarray data" which represents thousands of spots on DNA.

The scientists then developed a way to see the way that all 20,000 human genes interact with a computer-based network model. They focus on lymphocytes, which are a kind of white blood cell, that both trigger and suppress the immune system. Different particles force the lymphocytes to react and trigger an immune response, but sometimes the lymphocytes react incorrectly. Disorders such as allergic reactions and diabetes are a result of these "wrong decisions."

Four main reactions were found in this network model: one was to suppress the immune response, while the other three triggered it in different ways. The team of researchers pinpointed the way lymphocytes reacted in patients with specific disorders and are working on developing diagnostic markers that will allow them to create specialized medications.

Mikael Benson, one of the researchers, says these databases could "reduce the need for animal trials and lead to major savings in both time and money."

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Review Date: 
January 17, 2011
Last Updated:
January 17, 2011