Our understanding and the frequency of allergies has grown over the past several decades. Each new medical development and technological advancement fuels new pathways for clinical trials in allergy and asthma. In this article, we will look at some of the most recent research in this important therapeutic area.
New Approaches to Food Allergies
As the nature of allergies are better understood, the approach that researchers are taking to treating, managing, and preventing allergic reactions also changes. Allergy immunotherapy is a good example of this. Understanding the mechanisms of action in play and the potential for cross-reactivity is helping improve the way researchers approach allergies and asthma, but even that discipline is evolving. In a 2021 journal article, researchers (Macdougall, 2021) review peptide immunotherapy and DNA vaccine approaches to allergy immunotherapy as well as the use of biologic agents.
New Determinants of Allergic Pathogenicity
Allergic Pathogenicity is also evolving. While roughly 33% of people in the world have some type of allergy, our understanding of the pathogenicity of these conditions is still growing. It is known that immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies are often present and these trigger inflammatory elements like histamine, it is not clear why IgE does not always correlate with the presence of allergic activity.
In a 2020 paper (Shade, 2020), researchers looked at therapeutic interventions for peanut allergy. They found that people with peanut allergy demonstrate increased sialic acid content in total IgE and removing the sialic acid from IgE with a targeted enzyme resulted in better regulation of the allergy, particularly with respect to anaphylaxis.
In 2021, another study (Renz and Skevaki, 2021) looked at the increase of allergies, asthma, and atopic dermatitis in westernized countries. They found that lifestyle has a role in the development of these conditions. They cited caesarean birth, early antibiotic usage, westernized diet, obesity, and activity patterns as factors that influence microbiota and, in turn, act as allergy risk factors.
Environment as an Allergy Initiator
Environment alone may play a vital role in the development of allergies. A 2020 study (Lehtimäki, 2020) provided a closer look at environment as an allergy initiator by looking at simultaneous allergies between pets and their owners. Researchers looked at the microbiota of 168 dog-human pairs and found the pairs shared many of the same skin microbiota. They also found that living in an urban environment was associated with a higher incidence of self-reported allergies. The researchers concluded that “dogs and humans can be predisposed to allergy in response to same risk factors.”
Impact of Intestinal Microbiota on Allergy
Environment can also play a role in the intestinal immune response. In a 2021 study (Um, 2021), looked at intestinal immune response and atopic dermatitis. They found that the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis was impacted by microbiota and small intestinal eosinophils and proposed that there is a bidirectional relationship between skin and intestinal microbiota that plays a role in the development of atopic dermatitis.
Moving Forward in Allergy Research
Research may have slowed during COVID-19 restrictions, but it didn’t stop. While the COVID-19 pandemic has derailed or put many studies on hold, research continues. Recent allergy research has included new approaches to food allergies, a closer look at the impact of environment, and an examination of the influence of gut microbiome, but that is just the beginning.
If you have an allergy or asthma trial in the works, contact Pharm-Olam for a proposal. We can help you navigate challenges unique to allergy research, such as seasonality or choosing the right sites for the most valid data. We go the distance to help create a healthier world. Large enough to deliver, but small enough to care, Pharm-Olam has extensive experience in both seasonal and perennial allergies.
Allergy Case Study: Subcutaneous immunotherapy in adult and pediatric subjects with peanut allergy
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