Recent advances in food allergy

Food allergy appears to be increasing in prevalence and carries a strong economic burden. Some of the risk factors include:

- dietary factors, such as deficiency of vitamin D and timing of complementary foods

- genetic factors, such as filaggrin loss-of-function mutations

New mechanisms include the role of invariant natural killer T cells and dietary isoflavones.

New treatments are currently in development such as:

- Sublingual and oral immunotherapy (SLIT and OIT), and a Chinese herbal formula show promising in vitro results

- having children ingest foods with baked-in milk if they tolerate it, can have immunotherapeutic effect

- the use of anti-IgE (e.g. omalizumab) with or without concomitant immunotherapy

Most experts agree that SLIT and OIT are not ready for prime time yet.


Advances in allergic skin disease, anaphylaxis, and hypersensitivity reactions to foods, drugs, and insects in 2011. Sicherer SH, Leung DY. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2012 Jan;129(1):76-85.

Image source: Roasted peanuts as snack food, Wikipedia, public domain.

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