Publication Date

Spring 4-25-2017


School of Health Sciences


Biology: Pre-Med


Amblyomma americanum, Alpha-gal


Medicine and Health Sciences


The galactose-α-1,3-galactose (alpha-gal) allergy was identified following a drug trial of Cetuximab. The patients who reacted with anaphylaxis had all previously been bitten by the lone star tick. This led to the discovery of the alpha-gal antigen and the alpha-gal specific immunoglobulin E antibody (IgE). Research regarding the prevention of the alpha-gal allergy is extensive, and the development of a vaccine has been in progress. Much is still unknown regarding the way this allergy is transmitted to humans through ticks. Research is to be conducted in the Liberty University labs to investigate how the lone star tick causes sensitization to the alpha-gal antigen. Additional projects include determining the stage of tick development that the antigen is passed to humans, and identifying the reason only some people bitten by the lone star tick develop the allergy. The ultimate goal of this research is to aid in discovering a treatment for, or prevention of, the alpha-gal allergy.