The future of food allergy therapeutics
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- Henson, M. & Burks, A.W. Semin Immunopathol (2012) 34: 703. doi:10.1007/s00281-012-0319-7
Food allergy is increasing in prevalence in westernized countries, leading to significant morbidity including nutritional deficiencies and growth delay as well as psychosocial burdens and the potential for fatal anaphylaxis. There is currently no effective form of therapy, and the mainstay of treatment remains strict avoidance. However, there are a number of promising therapeutic strategies currently being investigated for the treatment of food allergies. Allergen-specific approaches, such as various forms of immunotherapy, have been a major focus of investigation and appear to be promising methods of desensitization. More recently, the addition of anti-IgE monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to immunotherapy regimens has been studied. Early work with antigen-fixed leukocytes in a murine model has shown promise in inducing tolerance, as have vaccines containing modified recombinant food proteins coadministered with heat-killed Escherichia coli. Nonspecific approaches include a Chinese herbal formulation, anti-IgE mAbs, and Trichuris suis ova therapy. The array of treatment modalities currently being investigated increases the likelihood of finding one or more effective therapies for the treatment of food allergy.