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An update on immunotherapy for food allergy

Scurlock, Amy M; Jones, Stacie M

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: December 2010 - Volume 10 - Issue 6 - p 587–593
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e32833fd5eb
Immunotherapy and new treatments: Edited by Giovanni Passalacqua and Robert Bush
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Purpose of review Recent investigation has resulted in significant advances toward definitive therapeutic options for food allergy. In this review, we will explore novel immunotherapeutic interventions for the active treatment of food allergy.

Recent findings Because the injection route for allergen immunotherapy to foods has been associated with an unacceptable risk of severe anaphylactic reactions, use of mucosally targeted therapeutic strategies is of significant interest for food allergy. Allergen-specific immunotherapeutic approaches such as oral, sublingual, epicutaneous, and peptide immunotherapy have demonstrated efficacy in increasing threshold dose and inducing immunologic changes associated with both desensitization and oral tolerance in animal and human trials. More global immunomodulatory strategies, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and anti-IgE therapy have been shown to effectively target the allergic response, and clinical trials are ongoing to determine the efficacy and safety in human food allergy.

Summary The advent of therapies that target the mucosal immune response to promote oral tolerance have shown great promise in the treatment of food hypersensitivity. However, there is still significant risk of adverse reactions associated with these therapeutic strategies and further study is needed to carefully advance these therapeutic modalities toward general clinical implementation.

Division of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, Arkansas Children's Hospital, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

Correspondence to Stacie M. Jones, MD, 13 Children's Way, Slot 512-13, Little Rock, AR 72202, USA Tel: +1 501 364 1060; e-mail: jonesstaciem@uams.edu

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