Oral immunotherapy and anti-IgE antibody treatment for food allergy.
Food allergy is a major public health problem affecting nearly 10 % of children in most industrialized countries. Unfortunately, there are no effective therapies for food allergy, relegating patients to simply avoid the offending foods and treat reactions that occur on accidental exposure. Recently however, studies suggest that food immunotherapy may provide a promising new approach to food allergy, particularly using the oral form of immunotherapy (OIT). Enthusiasm for this approach though must be tempered because of the significant allergic reactions that often occur with OIT that tends to limit its use to patients with less severe disease. On the other hand, recent studies suggest that concomitant treatment of patients with omalizumab (anti-IgE monoclonal antibody) during the updosing phase of OIT may greatly reduce the allergic reactions associated with OIT, even in high-risk patients. This combined method may provide a novel approach to successfully and rapidly treat a large fraction of patients with high-risk food allergy.