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Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2011;352:121-40. doi: 10.1007/82_2011_130.

Allergen-specific immunotherapy: towards combination vaccines for allergic and infectious diseases.

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Division of Immunopathology, Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, Center for Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


IgE-mediated allergies affect more than 25% of the population. Allergen-specific immunotherapy (SIT) is an antigen-specific and disease-modifying form of treatment. It is based on the therapeutic administration of the disease-causing allergens to allergic patients. However, the fact that only allergen extracts of insufficient quality are currently available and the possible occurrence of side effects during treatment limit the broad use of SIT and prophylactic vaccination is has not yet been performed. In the last 20 years the DNA sequences of the most common allergens have been isolated and the corresponding allergens have been produced as recombinant allergens. Based on the progress made in the field of allergen characterization it is possible to improve the quality and safety of allergy vaccines and to develop new, more effective strategies for a broad application of SIT and even for prophylactic treatment. Here we discuss the development of combination vaccines for allergy and infectious diseases. This approach is based on the selection of allergen-derived peptides with reduced IgE- and T cell reactivity in order to minimize IgE- and T cell-mediated side effects as well as the potential of the vaccine to induce allergic sensitization. These peptides are fused by recombinant technology onto a viral carrier protein to obtain a combination vaccine which induces protective immunity against allergy and viral infections. The application of such combination vaccines for therapy and prophylaxis of allergy and infectious diseases is discussed.

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