Exploring molecular allergology as the future of allergy testing and immunotherapy

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Content sponsored by Nextmune

At VMX 2023 in Orlando, Florida, Thierry Olivry, DrVet, PhD, DACVD, DECVD and head of research and development at Nextmune discussed how the advent of molecular allergology promises radical changes in the speed, accuracy and effectiveness of allergy testing and treatment.1

“Predicting clinical evaluations in dogs and cats is imprecise. And chemically, the basic diagnostic procedure is a full trial plus oral challenge – the elimination diet just allows you to do the challenge; an elimination diet alone is worth nothing,” Olivry said.

Furthermore, food allergy is not a diagnosis, like a bacterial infection. “If I tell you [that] you have a bacterial infection, you don’t know where it is, you don’t know what form,” he noted. “It’s the same with food allergies and the food extracts are too insensitive.”

A food allergy, by definition, is an immunological reaction that can go to specific IgE, lymphocytes, or both. It’s a complex syndrome. And in animals, it’s the same situation with different manifestations — some are IgE-mediated, some are cell-mediated.

What is Molecular Biology?

Molecular biology is a new concept in veterinary medicine. It diagnoses immunoglobulin E (IgE) sensitization. Veterinary clinics traditionally use an allergen extract with ELISA for allergen testing, while molecular biology uses individual allergens that have been shown to be relevant. The challenge is that extracts have inherent variability in composition and lack of standardization. And often extracts do not contain the major allergens.

Molecular Allergology

In humans, molecular allergology is advantageous for serial diagnosis. Molecular allergology inherently increases test sensitivity and can help define and identify the major allergens and those that are cross-reactive or minor.

“Cross-reactivity is a phenomenon not limited to a laboratory,” Olivry said. “It’s a problem when you have an immune response to one protein antigen or allergen, and as a result you’re reacting to proteins that have the same structure.”

In humans, you can predict clinical evolution and severity, which is important to help better identify allergens that can be included in immunotherapy. These benefits are the same for pets, and because the results are more accurate and sensitive, there is more relief for customer pets. The results are also region specific and pet/species specific.

In addition, pilot tests in Europe using molecular allergology show a reduction in the number of allergens in formulation by more than 50%, Olivry said.

Reference

  1. Olivry T. Molecular Allergology: The Future of Allergy Testing and Immunotherapy. Presented at: Veterinary Meeting and Expo. January 14–18, 2023; Orlando, Florida.
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