Immunotherapy has taken center stage in the field of allergy research.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) 2013 Annual Meeting took place in San Antonio last week. Many of the conference sessions, including the plenary speech, focused on allergic sensitization and how to induce tolerance to an allergen.

Going Further than Allergen Avoidance

Stuart Abramson, MD, PhD, who leads the AAAAI Scientific Program Committee, explains:

This is a really hot area. We want to know how we can prevent, potentially, the development of allergic disease and then how we can induce tolerance. At the moment, our best management of food allergy is avoidance, but we’re looking for new approaches that could involve the induction of tolerance.

The presidential plenary, delivered by A. Wesley Burks, MD, will tackle that question in a speech titled, “Immune Tolerance and Allergy: Can We Produce True Tolerance?” Burks says that there is a real possibility of inducing tolerance in the future.

“It may be possible,” he said, “but we have a lot to learn.” It is important to remember that “tolerance may be different for different diseases.” What works for peanut allergies may not work for milk allergies or shellfish allergies, for example.

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