Classic specific immunotherapy and new perspectives in specific immunotherapy for food allergy. 2003

Food allergy is a major cause of life-threatening hypersensitivity reactions. Food-induced anaphylaxis is the most common reason for someone to present to the emergency department for an anaphylactic reaction. The avoidance of the allergenic food is the only method of preventing further reactions that is currently available for sensitized patients. This method of prevention is difficult because of accidental food ingestions that occur. With better characterization of allergens and understanding of the immunologic mechanism involved in this reaction, investigators have developed several therapeutic modalities potentially applicable to the treatment and eventual prevention of food allergy. Among the therapeutic options currently under investigation, there is peptide immunotherapy, mutated protein immunotherapy, DNA immunization, immunization with immunostimulatory sequences and anti-IgE therapy. These novel forms of treatment for allergic disease hold promise for the safe and effective treatment of food-allergic individuals and the prevention of food allergy in the future.

Strict avoidance of specific foods is the accepted treatment of food-induced allergic reactions but is often an unrealistic therapeutic option for food-induced hypersensitivity reactions for the many reasons previously described. Food allergens can be hidden in unsuspecting foods, labeling is often misleading, contamination of a safe food occurs when served with a contaminated utensil and several cross-reacting allergens exist.

Desirable therapeutic strategies for the treatment and prevention of food allergies must be safe, relatively inexpensive and easily administered. Recent advances in the understanding of the immunological mechanisms underlying allergic disease and better characterization of food allergens have greatly expanded the potential therapeutic options for future use. Several different forms of immunomodulatory therapies are currently under investigation.

 Link To:

Burks, A.W. Classic specific immunotherapy and new perspectives in specific immunotherapy for food allergy. Allergy. 2003; 67: 121–124



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