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Therapeutic perspectives in food allergy

  • Marcucci, Francesco1
  • Isidori, Chiara1
  • Argentiero, Alberto1
  • Neglia, Cosimo1
  • Esposito, Susanna2
  • 1 Università degli Studi di Perugia, Perugia, Italy , Perugia (Italy)
  • 2 University of Parma, Via Gramsci 14, Parma, 43126, Italy , Parma (Italy)
Published Article
Journal of Translational Medicine
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Aug 05, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12967-020-02466-x
Springer Nature


BackgroundIn the last twenty years, several studies have been conducted in the search for new therapeutic strategies in patients with food allergy; in particular, after the failure of injection immunotherapy, three different routes of administration, oral immunotherapy (OIT), sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), and epicutaneous immunotherapy (EPIT), have been tested. The aim of this manuscript is to review OIT, SLIT, and EPIT clinical trials on food allergies and to suggest advantages and limits of the different routes of immunotherapy administration.Main bodyOf the three different routes of immunotherapy used in the treatment of food allergy, OIT is, at present, the only one actually able to induce an increase in tolerance in the majority of patients. However, its use is affected by serious secondary effects, such as major abdominal symptoms and anaphylaxis. The combination with omalizumab reduces the percentage of serious side effects. There are not many studies with SLIT for food allergy, but they have nevertheless shown that it is possible to obtain an increase in tolerance; however, this increase is modest in comparison with that obtained by OIT. EPIT, performed through the diffusion of allergens on intact skin, is the most recent form of immunotherapy. Although there are many works on EPIT carried out in laboratory animals, only few clinical studies have been published in humans. EPIT, unlike OIT and SLIT, is not responsible for systemic secondary effects such as anaphylaxis and eosinophilic oesophagitis but only for local and mild effects in areas where the devices are applied. Moreover, EPIT is characterized by high patient adherence.ConclusionOIT seems to have a prevalent application in patients who do not report previous symptoms of systemic or gastroenteric anaphylaxis, while SLIT and EPIT, in particular, could be more preferentially used in patients with a risk of anaphylaxis.

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