Peptide immunotherapy for allergic disease
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The only disease-modifying treatment available for IgE-mediated disease is specific immunotherapy, but the retention of B cell epitopes in whole allergen preparations confers a risk of IgE-mediated systemic reactions to their administration. Compelling evidence for the central role of T cells in allergic disease suggests that IgE-binding epitopes could be removed from such therapy, improving safety without affecting efficacy. Short, allergen-derived peptides lack the conformational determinants required for IgE crosslinking and are, therefore, an attractive therapeutic possibility. However, human leukocyte antigen (HLA) polymorphism means that T cell peptide epitopes present a huge diversity, which makes the design of peptide-based vaccines problematic. Over the past 10 years, advances in our understanding of epitope selection and major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-peptide-T cell receptor interactions have taken this therapy forward to early clinical trials with human volunteers.
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