Food allergy (FA) significantly impacts around 18% of the United States’ population, posing lifelong health risks that are often untreatable. Most with FAs are taught to avoid allergens from a young age and carry an epinephrine injector, yet this does not solve the problem of an adverse immune response. Early research elicited three routes of food allergy immunotherapy: oral, sublingual, and epicutaneous. Clinical trials have elicited desensitization rates of 75%, 70%, and 35% respectively, however, these rates differ based on the allergen tested. Currently, novel FA treatments are being researched, one of which has the potential to become the leading novel curative treatment for FA: peptide immunotherapy (PIT). PIT uses synthetic, antigen-specific T-cell epitope sequences to induce tolerance/desensitization without causing physical side effects typical of an IgE-mediated immune response. While efficacious – i.e. preliminary studies saw statistically significant values for peanut allergy trials and a decrease in basophilic activity for egg allergy –its status as the leading treatment is not definitive. This is due to its lack of extensive testing and the presence of other novel treatments such as adjuvant IT and DNA vaccines. This paper concludes that PIT holds great promise as the leading novel curative treatment for food allergy, however, further testing and comparative studies are required for unequivocal establishment.
Research Paper by Ritisha Suresh. Grade 12th grade, Seminole County, Florida