Oral Desensitization Therapy for Peanut Allergy Induces Dynamic Changes in Peanut-Specific Immune Responses
This week we profile a recent publication in Allergy from Veronique Bajzik, Hannah DeBerg (pictured, left), and the laboratory of Dr. Erik Wambre (second from right) at the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason.
Can you provide a brief overview of your lab’s current research focus?
The Wambre lab is focused on measuring immune activity in blood samples to generate the knowledge necessary to inform better vaccine design. Using techniques developed in the lab, we directly identify and characterize rare antigen-specific T-cell responses to gain clinically relevant insights into atopic allergy, cancer, infectious diseases, and autoimmunity.
What is the significance of the findings in this publication?
Peanut Oral immunotherapy (PnOIT) is the only disease-modifying treatment for Peanut allergy. It can help reduce the severity of allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, that may occur with accidental exposure to peanuts. However, an effective, limited understanding of the immunologic mechanisms underlying PnOIT has hampered its broad applicability and the development of novel targeted vaccines with improved efficacy and safety. In this study, we defined key mechanistic correlates of the reduction of clinical reactivity to peanuts observed in peanut-allergic individuals treated with PnOIT. We have shown that skewing allergen-specific T cells away from the pathogenic TH2A responses represent a key event in the desensitization to peanuts. The data presented here support PnOIT potential as an immunomodulatory therapy and will guide the development of more effective therapies for food allergic disease.
What are the next steps for this research?
Peanut allergic individuals may respond very differently to PnOIT. Our data suggest that inherent qualities of peanut-specific T cell responses at baseline may influence response to PnOIT. Identification of the cellular and molecular mechanisms driving these differences has the potential to predict clinical outcomes and responses to therapy. We are currently dedicated to this research.
If you’d like us to mention your funding sources, please list them.
This work was supported by funds from NIH/NIAID. Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) and Aimmune Therapeutics contributed supplemental support to the Wambre Laboratory for access to samples from Aimmune’s clinical trial.