Researchers discovered the cell, dubbed nuocyte, by using parasitic worms to experimentally drive allergic-like responses. The cells produced a chemical called Interlukin 13, which initiated the early generation of responses that can lead to asthma and other allergic reactions.
Professor Padraic Fallon, of Trinity College Dublin, claims that this discovery could revolutionize the way these reactions are treated.
"The discovery of a new cell involved opens novel opportunities for developing drugs for allergic diseases. This development also sheds new light on the response to parasitic infections and could provide insights into poverty-related diseases worldwide," Professor Fallon wrote in the journal Nature.
The potential influx of new asthma treatments comes as welcome news to those stricken by the affliction, as the FDA recently issued a black box warning for common medications like Serevent and Advair over unforeseen side effects, including difficulty breathing and an increased mortality rate.