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Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2013 Jun 15;65(6):774-81. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2012.10.004. Epub 2012 Oct 22.

Oral immunotherapy for food allergy: clinical and preclinical studies.

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UNC-Chapel Hill, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy, Immunology, Rheumatology, and Infectious Disease, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.


Food allergies affect approximately 5% of the U.S. population and have increased in the last decade. In recent years, oral immunotherapy (OIT) has been tested in clinical trials for peanut, milk, and egg allergies in young children. OIT appears to be fairly well tolerated by most subjects and leads to desensitization with a greatly increased threshold of allergen required to induce reactions. Further approaches being investigated in preclinical studies in mouse models indicate the potential for using adjuvants, such as TLR9 agonists in combination with OIT; peptide OIT; and non-allergen specific applications such as herbal formulations. Further questions about OIT remain, including the optimal dosing and length of treatment; whether tolerance can be developed; and the exact cellular mechanisms resulting in protection following OIT. With many clinical trials underway across the United States and other countries, and a growing pipeline of preclinical research with translational potential, there is great hope for a widely applicable food allergy treatment.

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