Antihistamine medications were hitherto considered the treatment of choice to alleviate the symptoms of hay fever sufferers. Now, in a randomized double-blind study, Dr. Adam Chaker and Prof. Dr. Carsten Schmidt-Weber demonstrated that the plant extract Ze 339 (Petasol butenoate complex) combats nasal mucosa swelling faster and more effectively. Apparently, however, the extract not only works in acute cases – “Our data indicate that the extract also has a preventive effect, which must be investigated further,” said Dr. Schmidt-Weber, head of the Center of Allergy & Environment (ZAUM) in Munich. The results look promising for improving the quality of life of people with allergies.
So far the plant extract has only been approved as a drug in Switzerland and South Korea. Further studies need to be carried out in order to allow it to be sold as a prescription drug on the German market.
In the Western world allergies are on the rise. Forecasts indicate that by the middle of this century, 40% of the population will be sensitized to allergens, and of these about 50% will show symptoms of an allergic disease. At present already 20% of the northern European population is sensitized to airborne allergens such as grass and birch pollen.
Dumitru A.F. et al (2011) Petasol butenoate complex (Ze 339) relieves allergic rhinitis–induced nasal obstruction more effectively than desloratadine, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology; advance online publication Link to Publication
Electron micrograph of healty ciliated lung epithelium. Photo: Dr. Ingrid Weichenmeier, ZAUM
Helmholtz Zentrum München is the German Research Center for Environmental Health. As leading center of Environmental Health, it focuses on chronic and complex diseases, which develop from the interaction of environmental factors and individual genetic disposition. Helmholtz Zentrum München has around 1700 staff members. The head office of the center is located in Neuherberg to the north of Munich on a 50-hectare research campus. Helmholtz Zentrum München belongs to the Helmholtz Association, Germany’s largest research organization, a community of 17 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of 30,000 staff members. www.helmholtz-muenchen.de
The Center of Allergy and Environment (Director: Prof. Dr. Carsten Schmidt-Weber) in Munich is a joint institution of Helmholtz Zentrum München and Technische Universität München. The cooperation, unique in the German research landscape serves interdisciplinary basic research and is linked with hospital and clinical studies. Through this translational approach, the insights gained on the molecular mechanisms underlying the development of allergies can be translated into measures for their prevention and treatment. The development of effective, individually tailored therapies enables better health care for the affected patients. www.zaum-online.de _______________________________________________________________________________
Contact for Media Representatives
Sven Winkler. Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health (GmbH), Ingolstädter Landstraße 1 85764 Neuherberg . Phone: 089-3187-3946 . Fax: 089-3187-3324, e-mail: [email protected]
Prof. Dr. Carsten B. Schmidt-Weber – Director of the Center of Allergy & Environment (ZAUM) – Helmholtz Zentrum München and Technische Universität München – Biedersteiner Str. 29 – 80802 Munich, Germany – Phone: +49(0)89-4140 3450 – Fax: +49(0)89-4140-3452. e-mail: [email protected]