Broad perspectives of allergen specific immunotherapy
- Wayne Robert Thomas
- Human vaccines & immunotherapeutics
Allergen-specific immunotherapy is the only curative treatment of honeybee venom (HBV) allergy, which is able to protect against further anaphylactic sting reactions. Recent analyses on a molecular level have demonstrated that HBV represents a complex allergen source that contains more relevant major allergens than formerly anticipated. Moreover, allergic patients show very diverse sensitization profiles with the different allergens. HBV-specific immunotherapy is conducted with HBV extracts which are derived from pure venom. The allergen content of these therapeutic extracts might differ due to natural variations of the source material or different down-stream processing strategies of the manufacturers. Since variations of the allergen content of therapeutic HBV extracts might be associated with therapeutic failure, we adressed the component-resolved allergen composition of different therapeutic grade HBV extracts which are approved for immunotherapy in numerous countries. The extracts were analyzed for their content of the major allergens Api m 1, Api m 2, Api m 3, Api m 5 and Api m 10. Using allergen-specific antibodies we were able to demonstrate the underrepresentation of relevant major allergens such as Api m 3, Api m 5 and Api m 10 in particular therapeutic extracts. Taken together, standardization of therapeutic extracts by determination of the total allergenic potency might imply the intrinsic pitfall of losing information about particular major allergens. Moreover, the variable allergen composition of different therapeutic HBV extracts might have an impact on therapy outcome and the clinical management of HBV-allergic patients with specific IgE to particular allergens.