Mass spectrometry to complement standardization of house dust mite and other complex allergenic extracts
In the United States, the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research of the US Food and Drug Administration regulates biologics used for diagnosis and treatment of allergic diseases. The Code of Federal Regulations 21CFR680.3(e) states that when measured, the potency of an allergenic extract is assessed according to its allergenic activity. As of 2016, 19 allergenic extracts are standardized for potency in the United States. While these standardized extracts constitute a minority of those available, they treat the most prevalent allergies (e.g. grass and ragweed pollens, dust mites, and cat) and those that induce life-threatening anaphylaxis (e.g. Hymenoptera venom). Standardization for potency enhances safety and efficacy of immunotherapy by minimizing the risks of variations in allergen dosing when switching from one lot of manufactured extract to another, and by providing an objective measure of stability of each lot of allergenic extract over time. Allergenic extracts that have multiple immunodominant allergenic proteins are standardized with little or no information about compositional differences among extracts. Here, we propose application of mass spectrometry towards measurement of compositional differences among extracts that may affect the efficacy and safety of allergen immunotherapy. In addition, we discuss of house dust mite allergen extracts as a prototypical complex extract that may be standardized by mass spectrometry.