, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 391-397
Date: 21 Aug 2010

Oral Food Desensitization

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The immunologic interactions in the gastrointestinal tract are extensive and complex. In most cases, the end result of this activity is one of tolerance, which refers to the inhibition of an immune response. However, in a minority of cases, food allergy develops, and this seems to be increasing in prevalence. We continue to learn about the mechanisms involved in these processes and the factors that may promote tolerance as opposed to allergy. At this point, management of food allergy consists of allergen avoidance and readiness to manage an accidental exposure reaction, but using current knowledge of gastrointestinal immunity, researchers are investigating immunomodulatory approaches that will provide “active” therapy for food allergy and induce tolerance. Oral immunotherapy is one important therapy being studied, and in this article, we review recent results from studies of this potential treatment for food allergy.