Peanut allergy is an IgE-mediated, persisting immune disorder that is of major concern worldwide. Currently, no routine immunotherapy is available to treat this often severe and sometimes fatal food allergy. Traditional subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy with crude peanut extracts has proven not feasible due to the high risk of severe systemic side effects. The allergen-specific approaches under preclinical and clinical investigation comprise subcutaneous, oral, sublingual and epicutaneous immunotherapy with whole-peanut extracts as well as applications of hypoallergenic peanut allergens or T cell epitope peptides. Allergen-nonspecific approaches include monoclonal anti-IgE antibodies, TCM herbal formulations and Toll-like receptor 9-based immunotherapy. The potential of genetically engineered plants with reduced allergen levels is being explored as well as the beneficial influence of lactic acid bacteria and soybean isoflavones on peanut allergen-induced symptoms. Although the underlying mechanisms still need to be elucidated, several of these strategies hold great promise. It can be estimated that individual strategies or a combination thereof will result in a successful immunotherapy regime for peanut-allergic individuals within the next decade.
© 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.