One hundred and ten years of Allergen Immunotherapy: A journey from empiric observation to evidence

Oliver Pfaar*, Jean Bousquet, Stephen R. Durham, Jörg Kleine-Tebbe, Mark Larché, Graham Roberts, Mohamed H. Shamji, Roy Gerth van Wijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

One hundred and ten years after Noon's first clinical report of the subcutaneous application of allergen extracts, allergen immunotherapy (AIT) has evolved as the most important pillar of the treatment of allergic patients. It is the only disease-modifying treatment option available and the evidence for its clinical efficacy and safety is broad and undisputed. Throughout recent decades, more insights into the underlying mechanisms, in particular the modulation of innate and adaptive immune responses, have been described. AIT is acknowledged by worldwide regulatory authorities, and following the regulatory guidelines for product development, AIT products are subject to a rigorous evaluation before obtaining market authorization. Knowledge and practice are anchored in international guidelines, such as the recently published series of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI). Innovative approaches continue to be further developed with the focus on clinical improvement by, for example, the usage of adjuvants, peptides, recombinants, modification of allergens, new routes of administration, and the concomitant use of biologicals. In addition, real-life data provide complementary and valuable information on the effectiveness and tolerability of this treatment option in the clinical routine. New mobile health technologies and big-data approaches will improve daily treatment convenience, adherence, and efficacy of AIT. However, the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has also had some implications for the feasibility and practicability of AIT. Taken together, AIT as the only disease-modifying therapy in allergic diseases has been broadly investigated over the past 110 years laying the path for innovations and further improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-468
Number of pages15
JournalAllergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Volume77
Issue number2
Early online date27 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

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