Immunotherapy for food allergy

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The current review discusses strategies for administering specific immunotherapy (SIT) for the treatment of food allergy. It focuses on three delivery routes for food allergens, immunomodulatory adjuvants and allergen modifications.

Recent findings

Interest in SIT for food allergy has been increasing significantly. Sublingual immunotherapy is effective for desensitization with a very favorable adverse event profile. Epicutaneous immunotherapy is also effective, most notably in younger children, with a high rate of local reactions. Oral immunotherapy demonstrates high efficacy, but with a higher risk of gastrointestinal and systemic adverse events. The need for long-term application to sustain desensitization is currently unclear. Immunomodulatory adjuvants may be added to enhance or diminish the immunogenicity of proteins, whereas genetic modifications of food allergens are designed to limit the risk of adverse reactions and address the issues of standardization and supply.

Summary

SIT for food allergy is reaching the point where it may soon be used routinely in clinical practice. Current research focuses on new delivery routes and methods to enhance the effectiveness of the therapy while minimizing the risk of adverse reactions. Future efforts are underway to determine the optimal dose for each delivery method and the length of maintenance dosing required to retain the protective effect.

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