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Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2004 Dec;4(6):569-73.

Engineered allergens for immunotherapy.

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  • 1Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Laboratory, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Integrative Legume Research, Institute of Land and Food Resources, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.



Specific immunotherapy is a clinically effective causative treatment for allergic conditions. However, the reagents used for immunotherapy are crude extracts prepared from natural sources with potential life-threatening anaphylactic side effects. Molecular cloning of allergens has made it feasible to design novel therapeutic approaches for improved and safer forms of allergen-specific immunotherapy. The purpose of this review is to examine recent advances made in the last 2 years in genetic engineering of allergens for specific immunotherapy.


Genetic engineering of allergen with nil or low IgE reactivity but retained T-cell reactivity offers a novel therapeutic approach to improving safety and efficacy of allergen-specific immunotherapy. Hypoallergenic forms of major allergens have been produced, with reduced IgE epitopes while preserving other characteristics of the molecule to induce a protective response.


Hypoallergenic forms of major allergens are potential candidates for allergen-specific immunotherapy in the future. These genetically engineered hypoallergens now need to be tested in clinical trials before being widely used. Safer and more efficacious vaccines would increase patient compliance leading to extensive use of immunotherapy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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