Today, in vivo allergy diagnosis and allergen-specific immunotherapy (AIT) are still based on allergen extracts obtained from natural allergen sources. Several studies analyzing the composition of natural allergen extracts have shown severe problems regarding their quality such as the presence of undefined nonallergenic materials, contaminants as well as high variabilities regarding contents and biological activity of individual allergens. Despite the increasing availability of sophisticated analytical technologies, these problems cannot be overcome because they are inherent to allergen sources and methods of extract production. For in vitro allergy diagnosis problems related to natural allergen extracts have been largely overcome by the implementation of recombinant allergen molecules that are defined regarding purity and biological activity. However, no such advances have been made for allergen preparations to be used in vivo for diagnosis and therapy. No clinical studies have been performed for allergen extracts available for in vivo allergy diagnosis that document safety, sensitivity, and specificity of the products. Only for very few therapeutic allergen extracts state-of-the-art clinical studies have been performed that provide evidence for safety and efficacy. In this article, we discuss problems related to the inconsistent quality of products based on natural allergen extracts and share our observations that most of the products available for in vivo diagnosis and AIT do not meet the international standards for medicinal products. We argue that a replacement of natural allergen extracts by defined recombinantly produced allergen molecules and/or mixtures thereof may be the only way to guarantee the supply of clinicians with state-of-the-art medicinal products for in vivo diagnosis and treatment of allergic patients in the future.
|Journal||Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice|
|Publication status||Published - 2018 Nov 1|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy