What is antigen specific immunotherapy?

Treatment for several autoimmune and allergen diseases can benefit considerably from immunotherapy. Allergen-specific immunotherapy is used clinically to desensitize the recruitment and activation of hyperreactive immune cells such as mast cells, eosinophils, and basophils. Recent immunotherapies targeting these cells focus on modulating key signaling molecules such as CTLA-4, TGF-β, histamine receptor 2, IL-10, and PD-1.1

Patients suffering from celiac disease are hyperreactive to gluten in the diet. Therapeutic vaccines are designed to introduce peptides containing immunodominant antigens for gluten-specific T cells. This is intended to disengage gluten-specific T cells from activating and has been shown to be safe in modulating immune responsiveness to gluten in recent trials.2

1. W. van de Veen, et al., "Novel mechanisms in immune tolerance to allergens during natural allergen exposure and allergen-specific immunotherapy," Curr Opin Immunol 48:74-81, 2017.
2. G. Goel, et al., "Epitope-specific immunotherapy targeting CD4-positive T cells in celiac disease: two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 1 studies," Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol 2(7):479-493, 2017.