Development and preliminary clinical evaluation of a peptide immunotherapy vaccine for cat allergy Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Allergic sensitization to cat allergens is common and represents a major risk factor for asthma. Specific immunotherapy (SIT) is effective but cumbersome and associated with IgE-dependent adverse events. Immunotherapy targeting allergen-specific T cells, with synthetic peptides representing T-cell epitopes, might improve safety and reduce the duration of treatment. OBJECTIVE: We sought to define major T-cell epitopes of Fel d 1 for peptide immunotherapy, generate a peptide vaccine, and evaluate its safety and tolerability in subjects with cat allergy. METHODS: We determined the binding affinities of Fel d 1 peptides for 10 commonly expressed HLA-DR molecules. Functionally immunodominant peptides were identified by means of proliferation and cytokine secretion. Histamine-releasing activity was assessed, and a peptide vaccine was formulated. Safety and tolerability were evaluated in a dose-ranging phase IIa clinical trial. RESULTS: MHC-binding sequences were identified throughout Fel d 1. Some regions contained multiple overlapping T-cell epitopes that bound multiple MHC molecules. Immunodominant sequences were identified on the basis of proliferative and cytokine (IFN-γ, IL-10, and IL-13) responses. Cat allergen extract, but not peptides, induced histamine release in blood basophils. A single administration of peptide vaccine was safe and well tolerated. The dose of vaccine resulting in the greatest inhibition of the late-phase skin response to intradermal whole allergen challenge was 3 nmol. CONCLUSIONS: Fel d 1 contains multiple overlapping MHC-binding motifs. A peptide vaccine comprising the immunodominant regions of the allergen was safe and well tolerated when given to subjects with cat allergy as a single dose. The dose of vaccine resulting in the greatest reduction in late-phase skin response was defined for future clinical development.


  • Worm, Margitta
  • Lee, Hae-Hyuk
  • Kleine-Tebbe, Jörg
  • Hafner, Roderick P
  • Laidler, Paul
  • Healey, David
  • Buhot, Cecile
  • Verhoef, Adrienne
  • Maillère, Bernard
  • Kay, A Barry
  • Larche, Mark

publication date

  • January 2011