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Future therapies for food allergy

Author
Anna Nowak-Węgrzyn, MD
Section Editor
Scott H Sicherer, MD, FAAAAI
Deputy Editor
Elizabeth TePas, MD, MS

INTRODUCTION

Food allergy encompasses a variety of immune-mediated adverse reactions to foods that occur in genetically predisposed individuals [1,2]. No cure for food allergy is available. Strict avoidance of the food allergen is the only therapeutic option. Strategies described in this topic are experimental. (See "Management of food allergy: Avoidance".)

Novel therapeutic approaches to food allergy can be classified as food allergen specific (eg, immunotherapy with native or modified recombinant allergens, or oral desensitization) or food allergen nonspecific (eg, anti-immunoglobulin E [IgE], traditional Chinese medicine [TCM]) and are summarized in the table (table 1) [3-6].

Some therapies in development appear to only temporarily desensitize or protect patients, requiring continued treatment to maintain efficacy. Other therapies appear to induce permanent tolerance to the food allergen, where the allergy will not recur upon reexposure after a period of abstinence.

Before these new approaches are applied in clinical practice, they must be carefully evaluated for side effects, such as acute adverse reactions, toxicity, and overstimulation of T helper type 1 (Th1) immune responses that could prime for autoimmunity.

FOOD ALLERGEN-SPECIFIC THERAPY

The aim of allergen-specific therapies is to alter the allergic response to the food allergen so that the patient becomes desensitized or, preferably, tolerant to the specific food. Possible future food allergen-specific therapies include oral, sublingual, and subcutaneous immunotherapy. Allergens used for subcutaneous immunotherapy have been modified to retain immunogenicity but decrease allergenicity.

                       

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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Wed Nov 30 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2016.
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