Food allergies have become a significant heath burden as prevalence continues to rise, affecting 6%-13% of the global population. In the absence of drugs approved by regulatory agencies, the current standard of care remains avoidance of allergenic foods and management of acute allergic reactions with antihistamines and epinephrine autoinjectors. Allergen immunotherapy has been shown to increase the threshold of reactivity in the majority of food-allergic individuals. However, challenges include long treatment periods, high rates of adverse reactions, and lack of permanence of desensitization and established protocols. To address these limitations, adjunctive allergen-specific immunotherapy, vaccines, and non-allergen-specific therapies (eg, monoclonal antibodies) are being explored. The future of food allergy treatment is promising with a number of clinical trials in progress. Currently, although desensitization can be achieved for the majority of individuals with food allergy through immunotherapy, continued ingestion of allergen is needed for most individuals to maintain desensitization. Further understanding of the mechanisms of food allergy and identification of biomarkers to distinguish between temporary and permanent resolution of allergies is needed before a cure, where reactivity to the allergen is permanently lost enabling the individual to consume the allergen in any amount at any time, can be envisioned.
Keywords: IgE; desensitization; food allergy; immunotherapy; sustained unresponsiveness.
© 2019 EAACI and John Wiley and Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley and Sons Ltd.