T Cell Epitope-Based Allergy Vaccines
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Specific immunotherapy (SIT) with extracts containing intact allergen molecules is clinically efficacious, but associated with frequent adverse events related to the allergic sensitization of the patient. As a result, treatment is initiated in an incremental dose fashion which ultimately achieves a plateau (maintenance dose) that may be continued for several years. Reduction of allergic adverse events may allow safer and more rapid treatment Thus, many groups have developed and evaluated strategies to reduce allergenicity whilst maintaining immunogenicity, the latter being required to achieve specific modulation of the immune response. Peptide immunotherapy can be used to target T and/or B cells in an antigen-specific manner. To date, only approaches that target T cells have been clinically evaluated. Short, synthetic peptides representing immunodominant T cell epitopes of major allergens are able to modulate allergen-specific T cell responses in the absence of IgE cross linking and activation of effector cells. Here we review clinical and mechanistic studies associated with peptide immunotherapy targeting allergy to cats or to bee venom.
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