The future of antigen-specific immunotherapy of allergy

Nat Rev Immunol. 2002 Jun;2(6):446-53. doi: 10.1038/nri824.


More than 25% of the population in industrialized countries suffers from immunoglobulin-E-mediated allergies. The antigen-specific immunotherapy that is in use at present involves the administration of allergen extracts to patients with the aim to cure allergic symptoms. However, the risk of therapy-induced side effects limits its broad application. Recent work indicates that the epitope complexity of natural allergen extracts can be recreated using recombinant allergens, and hypoallergenic derivatives of these can be engineered to increase treatment safety. It is proposed that these modified molecules will improve the current practice of specific immunotherapy and form a basis for prophylactic vaccination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / administration & dosage
  • Allergens / genetics
  • Allergens / isolation & purification
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Desensitization, Immunologic / trends*
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / immunology
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / prevention & control
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / therapy*
  • Immunoglobulin E / metabolism
  • Models, Immunological
  • Protein Engineering


  • Allergens
  • Immunoglobulin E