Team:KAIT JAPAN/introduction


  The number of hay fever patients is expected to increase in the future.There is a disease called allergy rhinitis (hay fever) caused by pollen of plants in Japan. There are various kinds of plants causing pollinosis, among those pollinosis, the patients with Japanese cedar hay fever, has increased by 10% since 1998.

And for now, 1 in 5 people (more than 20 million people), have hay fever.

The number of hay fever patients is expected to increase in the future.

  Besides cedar pollen, there are still plants that cause pollinosis in Japan. The major pollinosis-causing plants in Japan, as shown in figure below, are cedar, hinoki, ambrosia, poaceae, birch.

The most common cedar pollinosis patients, occupied about 70% of patients with hay fever disease. Besides that, as Japan has four distinct seasons, and because flowers blooms differently by season, the time for the pollen scattered by pollen-causing plants are different.

Cedar’s pollen scatters from winter to spring, hinoki and birch in spring, poaceae from spring to autumn and ambrosia in the autumn. Since pollinosis occurs specifically, there is also the possibility that one have multiple types of pollinosis causes by plants. Therefore, in some cases, some people suffers from hay fever throughout the year.

  In japan, hay fever is a big issue as one in five japanese suffers from hay fever. Symptoms of hay fever is individually different, but basically, runny or blocked nose, frequent sneezing and coughing, itchy and red or watery eyes, loss of smell and so on.

Because of these symptoms, some patients will have sleeping disorder such as having difficulty to fall asleep, unable to sleep soundly and so on.

Hay fever can be described as a disease that brings great affect to one’s daily life. However, as it is not a life-threatening disease, not much attention was paid to this topic. But, hay fever deteriorates productivity is regarded as a problem. As shown in the human practice page, we found out that, although Japanese dislikes gene modified products, they would like to use gene modified medical supplies to cure hay fever. Therefore, hay fever is an issue that should be solve as soon as possible.
The ranking of diseases which lowers the productivity is shown below.

From the table above, the productive of patients with hay fever declines the most. Productivity is reduced by $593 per person each year. Therefore, as 20% of japanese suffers from hay fever, productivity has become a serious social problem. And as the symptoms of pollinosis does not get better, when it came to the scattering time of the pollens, the patients will suffers from the allergic symptoms.

  Since it is the best way to prevent suffering from hay fever by not letting the pollens intrudes into the body, Japanese tends to put on masks and spectacles. However, even with such countermeasures, it is impossible to prevent pollens from entering the body completely. Furthermore, there are lots of different ways to treat hay fever currently in Japan. There are two main ways to treat hay fever. The first one is to suppress allergy reaction by symptomatic treatment. It is a treatment using antihistamine which suppresses allergy symptoms by blocking histamine receptors secreted when allergic reaction occurs. This treatment is widely used and you can even purchase it at drugstore. However, by merely suppressing the symptoms of hay fever, this treatment does not cure hay fever completely. And it brings side effects such as、thirstiness, sleepiness which causes great impacts on some patient daily lives. The second method is sublingual immunotherapy by desensitization treatment. It is a treatment method to add allergens gradually to tongue to boost immunity. Although this treatment method may be able to cure hay fever completely, long treatment period (2-5 years) is needed, and side effects of anaphylactic shock might occurs.
  In other words, as more than 20 million of Japanese suffers from hay fever, it is difficult to treat hay fever. So we thought about creating a system to cure hay fever. This system senses IL - 10 and produces IL - 12.

To explain why we designed this system, we shall first explain the mechanism of hay fever.

Hay fever’s mechanism

When pollen invades the body from mucous membranes of nose and eyes, and when pollen is recognized as an antigen.

When pollen invades the body and is recognized as a foreign substance, it is taken up by lymphocytes on the principle of antigen-antibody reaction, and T cells will be activated, and this T cell will order B cells to produce IgE antibodies.

And when pollen invades again, histamine overproduced by mast cells will cause pollinosis.

To control helper T cells, naive T cells (a kind of helper T cells), are important.

Th1 and Th2 cell inhibits each other. As one increases, the other one decreases. And when Th1 cells and Th2 cells are balanced, they do not cause pollinosis. However, if the balance is collapsed, hay fever occurs.

Naive T cell, differentiates into Th1 cells and Th2 cells. And the Th1 and Th2 cells is differentiates depend on the type of antigen. When the antigen is a virus or a bacterium, antigen presenting cells will secrete IL-12 and differentiate naive T cells into Th 1 cells. This Th1 cell will activates immunity against virus, bacteria, and cancer cells. On the other hand, when the antigen is an allergen such as pollen, the antigen presenting cell will secretes IL-10. When IL-10 is released, naive T cells will differentiates into Th2 cells, and immunity related to pollen will be activated. In other words, pollinosis is caused when the rate of differentiation of naive T cells secreted by IL - 10 into Th2 cells increases.

Therefore, we designed this system to let it produce IL-12 when it receives IL-10. And by producing IL-12, Th1 cells will be activates and the balance between Th1 and Th2 cells can be maintained. And we believed that, by maintaining the balance between Th1 and Th2 cells, we can cure hay fever.

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