New blood test identifies people with life threatening allergies

January 5, 2008

Almost 20 to 30 percent of the general population has allergies, and for one to two percent of the population their allergic reactions can be life-threatening. In a new study by Dr. Peter Vadas, director of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, a new blood test will identify those people who are at risk of severe or fatal anaphylactic reactions and potentially save lives.

“This study has shown that patients with low levels of an enzyme known as PAF-AH had severe or fatal anaphylactic reactions to a range of allergic triggers, such as foods, drugs and stinging insects. Patients with normal levels of this protective enzyme had only mild reactions. The study has also identified at new chemical which appears to play a key role in causing the severe and life-threatening manifestations of allergic reactions” says Dr. Peter Vadas.

The study was led by Vadas in Canada’s only anaphylaxis clinic at St. Michael’s Hospital. His body of research covers life threatening allergic reactions, immune system disorders and a focus on what makes people prone to fatal allergies.

Vadas’ latest study appeard in the New England Journal of Medicine on January 3, 2008. The test could save the lives by alerting many people who are currently unaware that their allergies could be fatal.


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