How to Avoid Allergic Reactions from Your Medicine

More and more people today develop allergies towards different foods, perfume, animals and medical treatments. The reason for some of these effects could be the impurities found in various medicinal products.

The applied medicine products today are more often made from proteins. Besides being an important part of your diet, proteins are crucial molecules for almost all reactions in your body. Therefore, it is also possible to treat patients with custom-made proteins that target specific functions of the body. The problem is that during the production of the proteins, by-products in the form of an extra class of proteins follow along with the desired protein.

The unknown enemy: Host cell proteins

The most important by-products in protein production are Host Cell Proteins (HCPs), which originate from the host used for generating the desired protein. Common hosts are bacteria and yeast cells that are easily manipulated and governed. These hosts also allow for a cheap and fast production. It is desirable to remove as many HCPs from the final product as possible, since they pose different threats. They might decrease the durability of the drug and reduce its ability to heal the patient. Furthermore, they can induce allergic reactions, due to their foreignness, which activate the body’s immune system and different unconformable symptoms for the patients. It is difficult to evaluate on the long-term effects on allergic development, but it is reasonable to think that accumulating HCPs could result in different allergies.

The problem with (present-day) medicines based on proteins

Before releasing a new drug, control and inspection of the product is needed, and it must be documented in detail for governmental approval. However, the methods for analysis of HCPs are not sensitive enough and thus cannot identify specific HCPs or HCPs in small amounts. The analyses that should do the job are simply not good enough. If the used analysis was replaced with a more sensitive one, it might be possible to treat patients better, avoid several side effects immediately after drug intake and reduce the risk of allergies on a long-term basis.

The solution: A new and improved analysis

Luckily, the method mass spectrometry (MS) poses as an interesting alternative to established methods for host cell protein analysis. Current methods require research animals, but with MS that is not necessary. MS is also more accurate and can detect the smallest amounts of HCPs in all kinds of samples. The analysis is completed faster and can be done during the development of a drug, which enables the removal of HCPs in the purification of the drug product. This is good news for the consumer/patients, because MS diminishes the risk of unwanted side effects and possible allergies in the future.