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Chapter 6 : Vaccines and Immunotherapies for Future Treatment of Food Allergy
Food allergy is a major cause of life-threatening hypersensitivity reactions. Currently, the avoidance of the allergenic food is the only method of preventing further reactions for allergic patients. Even with good educational information, 50% of allergic patients have accidental ingestions and allergic reactions over a 24-month period. With better characterization of allergens and an understanding of the immunologic mechanism involved in this reaction, investigators have developed several therapeutic modalities potentially applicable to the treatment and eventual prevention of food allergy. Techniques under current investigation for the treatment of food allergy include peptide immunotherapy, traditional Chinese medicine, mutated protein immunotherapy, allergen DNA immunization, vaccination with immunostimulatory DNA sequences, and anti-IgE therapy. While peptide immunotherapy for food allergy has not yet reached clinical trials, studies utilizing the peptides of the peanut allergens are interesting and suggest a possible role for peptide immunotherapy in the future therapy of food allergy. New therapies currently under investigation should help the physician greatly improve care for food-induced allergic reactions while reducing the risk of anaphylaxis in these patients.