Food Allergy Therapeutics Innovation

26 Mar 2024 | by Anastasia Stepanova

Food allergy therapeutics innovation

Food allergies affect millions of people worldwide, and the only possible way to escape an allergic reaction to a specific food is to strictly avoid it. Nevertheless, innovations in food allergy therapies presented to society have shown promising results in helping people with food allergies manage their conditions more effectively.

One of the most studied developments in food allergy therapeutics is the use of oral immunotherapy (OIT). OIT is based on administering small, gradually increasing doses of the allergenic product to the patient for weeks or months. This process desensitizes the patient's immune system to the allergen, reducing the risk of an allergic reaction.
Several clinical trials have shown that OIT can be effective in treating food allergies. For example, a 2019 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that OIT helped desensitize over two-thirds of children with peanut allergies, allowing them to eat small amounts of peanuts without negative reaction.

peanut allergy

Another approach is the use of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that target specific immune pathways involved in allergic reactions. For example, omalizumab is a mAb used to treat asthma by targeting immunoglobulin E (IgE), a protein involved in allergic reactions. Studies have shown that omalizumab can also reduce the severity of allergic reactions in patients with peanut allergy. A good example is dupilumab — a biologic drug used to treat atopic dermatitis, which has been approved for the treatment of moderate-to-severe eczema and asthma and is currently in clinical trials for food allergies.

An interesting invention is nanoparticle vaccines — a new type of vaccine technology that uses tiny particles to deliver a specific protein or antigen to the immune system. They have shown promise in preclinical studies for the treatment of food allergies.

A study published in the Nature Biotechnology journal in 2014 showed that a nanoparticle vaccine was effective in treating peanut allergies in mice. The study found that mice treated with the nanoparticle vaccine had reduced symptoms of peanut allergy and were better able to tolerate peanut exposure. Though more research is needed to determine the safety and efficacy in humans, nanoparticle vaccines could offer a new and more effective approach to treating allergies, potentially providing long-term relief and reducing the need for traditional treatments like antihistamines and immunotherapy.

In addition to these pharmacological treatments, there has been progress in the development of medical devices for managing food allergies. For example, a wearable epinephrine auto-injector has been developed to provide a more discreet and user-friendly alternative to traditional epinephrine auto-injectors. This device has the potential to improve the lives of those with food allergies by making it easier to carry and administer life-saving medication in case of an allergic reaction. 

allergy test

There are also several new diagnostic tools in development for food allergies. One such tool is the microchip-based allergy test, which can detect food allergens in blood samples with greater accuracy and sensitivity than traditional skin-prick tests. A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that a microchip-based test was able to accurately diagnose peanut allergies in children, with a sensitivity of 96% and a specificity of 100%.

Despite these promising innovations, many challenges should be addressed in the field of food allergy therapeutics. For example, there is a need for more research on the long-term safety and efficacy of OIT, as well as the optimal dosing and duration of treatment. Similarly, additional investigations are needed to understand the mechanisms underlying food allergies and identify new therapeutic targets.

Overall, these and other innovations in food allergy therapeutics offer hope for patients with food allergies, and ongoing research and development are likely to lead to even more effective treatments in the future.

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