Genome engineering with clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) technology offers the unique potential for unequivocally deleting allergen genes at the source. Compared to prior gene editing approaches, CRISPR boasts substantial improvements in editing efficiency, throughput, and precision. CRISPR has demonstrated success in several clinical applications such as sickle cell disease and β-thalassemia, and preliminary knockout studies of allergenic proteins using CRISPR editing show promise. Given the advantages of CRISPR, as well as specific DNA targets in the allergen genes, CRISPR gene editing is a viable approach for tackling allergy, which may lead to significant disease improvement. This review will highlight recent applications of CRISPR editing of allergens, particularly cat allergen Fel d 1, and will discuss the advantages and limitations of this approach compared to existing treatment options.
Background:Rapid drug desensitization (RDD) allows first-line therapies in patients with immediate drug hypersensitivity reactions (DHR) to chemotherapeutic drugs (ChD) and monoclonal antibodies (mAb). Desensitization in delayed drug reactions has traditionally used slow protocols extending up to several weeks; RDD protocols have been scarcely reported.Patients and Method:We retrospectively analyzed the patients referred to the Allergy Department, who had experienced a delayed DHR (> 6 h) related to a ChD or mAb and underwent an RDD protocol. The rate of successful administration of the offending drug and the presence of adverse reactions were evaluated.Results:A total of 93 RDDs were performed in 11 patients (including 6 men and 5 women, with a median age of 61 years). The primary DHR were maculopapular exanthema (MPE) (8), generalized delayed urticaria (1), MPE with pustulosis and facial edema (1), and facial edema with desquamative eczema (1). The meantime for the onset of symptoms was 3 days (range 1–16 days). RDD was performed using a protocol involving 8–13 steps, with temozolomide (25), bendamustine (4), rituximab (9), infliximab (24), gemcitabine (23), and docetaxel (8), within 4.6–6.5 h. Sixteen breakthrough reactions were reported during the RDD (17.2 %) in 5 patients; all were mild reactions including 11 delayed and 5 immediate reactions. All patients completed their treatment.Conclusions:RDD is a potentially safe and effective procedure in patients suffering from delayed reactions to ChD and mAb. It allows them to receive full treatment in a short period, thereby reducing time and hospital visits.
Phlebotomy procedures required in food allergy (FA) diagnosis and clinical trials often induce fear and anxiety for pediatric patients. The primary aim of this study was to determine whether virtual reality (VR) applications were effective in reducing anxiety for pediatric FA patients undergoing phlebotomy during FA clinical trials. Secondary aims assessed fear, pain, procedural compliance, and adverse events. Participants undergoing phlebotomy were enrolled and randomized to a VR group or standard of care (SOC) group for this prospective pilot randomized, pragmatic study. Participants in the VR group played interactive applications on a customized Samsung Gear VR headset and those in the SOC group received the standard of care. Participants' anxiety, fear, and pain were assessed with the Children's Anxiety Meter, Children's Fear Scale, and FACES pain scale pre, during, and post phlebotomy procedure. Compliance was assessed using the modified Induction Compliance Checklist during the procedure and compared between two groups. Forty-nine participants were randomized to VR (n = 26) and SOC (n = 23) groups. Although both the VR and SOC groups experienced a decrease in anxiety and fear from pre- to post-procedure, those in the VR group experienced less anxiety and fear during the procedure than SOC participants. Similarly, both groups experienced an increase in pain from pre- to post-procedure; however, the VR group reported less pain during the procedure than SOC. Fewer symptoms of procedural non-compliance were reported in the VR group. Interactive VR applications may be an effective tool for reducing fear, anxiety, and pain during phlebotomy for FA clinical trials.
Introduction: Phenotype I hypersensitivity reactions are the most commonly reported drug reactions; however, precision medicine has made it possible to characterize new phenotypes. A recent communication proposed the existence of a “converter phenotype,” which would affect patients who present non-immediate hypersensitivity reactions and in subsequent exposures develop immediate hypersensitivity reactions. This study aimed to describe the clinical characteristics of converter phenotype reactions and their evolution during desensitization to chemotherapeutic drugs and monoclonal antibodies.Methods: We retrospectively reviewed our database of patients undergoing desensitization to chemotherapy or biological agents and selected those with a converter phenotype. Demographic and clinical characteristics of the patients, the results of skin tests, tryptase and IL-6 levels, and desensitization outcomes were assessed.Results: Of 116 patients evaluated, 12 (10.3%) were identified as having a converter phenotype. The median interval between drug exposure and reaction was 90.6 h (range 8-288 h). After the conversion, phenotype I was the most frequent (58.3%), followed by cytokine release reactions (33.3%). Fifty-one desensitizations were undertaken and all treatments completed, with 10 (19.6%) breakthrough reactions. No new changes in the phenotype were detected.Conclusions: The symptoms of non-immediate drug hypersensitivity reactions may indicate the need for an early allergological evaluation to assess the risk of future immediate drug reactions. Clinical characteristics, skin test results, and biomarkers can help predict responses to rapid drug desensitization, guiding clinicians on how to optimize therapy delivery while maintaining patient safety.
Introduction: Allergic rhinitis (AR) is an inflammatory disease of the nasal mucosa that can be modeled using Controlled Allergen Exposure Facilities (CACF). Recently, we clinically validated the house dust mite (HDM) Environmental Exposure Unit (EEU) facility. In the current study, we aimed to assess biological responses in the blood following HDM exposure in the HDM-EEU.Methods: Fifty-five participants passed a screening visit, where they provided consent and completed a skin prick test (SPT), then attended a modest or higher HDM exposure session. Baseline and post-exposure blood samples were collected. Complete blood counts with differentials were measured, and isolated serum was used to determine Dermatophagoides farinae- and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus-specific IgE (sIgE) and cytokine concentrations (IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, IL-13, TNF-α).Results: HDM-allergic participants had significantly greater SPT wheal sizes than healthy controls. sIgE concentrations were significantly greater in allergic participants, with a strong correlation between Dermatophagoides farinae and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus. Serum eosinophil counts were significantly decreased post-exposure for allergic participants. White blood cell, neutrophil, and lymphocyte counts were significantly increased for both allergic and non-allergic participants post-exposure. Serum IL-13 concentrations were significantly reduced post-exposure in allergics while TNF-α was significantly reduced in non-allergics.Conclusion: The HDM-EEU is a useful model for investigating biologic mechanisms of HDM-induced AR. Allergic participants produced measurable biological changes compared to healthy controls following allergen exposure, specifically with serum expression of eosinophils and related markers, namely IL-5, which promotes the proliferation and differentiation of eosinophils, and IL-13, a cytokine released by eosinophils. The exact mechanisms at play require further investigation.
Purpose: Both subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) and sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) are effective in reducing symptoms and medication scores and inducing long-term efficacy in patients with allergic rhinitis (AR). However, SLIT has been associated with poor patient adherence. This study investigates the factors impacting dropout rates from SLIT in house dust mite (HDM)-sensitized AR patients.Methods: A retrospective study was performed to analyze dropout rates and reasons in AR patients receiving Dermatophagoides farinae (Der f) SLIT with a follow-up period of 2 years.Results: A total of 719 HDM-sensitized AR patients received Der f-SLIT. Dropout rates increased with time and most occurred after 1 year of SLIT. By month 24, 654 (91%) patients had discontinued SLIT. The dropout rates by month 24 were 100, 90.1, and 91.1% in children <5 years old, children aged 5–18 years old, and adults ≥ 18 years old, respectively. Combination with allergic asthma and mono- or multi-sensitization to other aeroallergens did not affect the dropout rates. The most common self-reported reasons for dropouts were refusal of continuation, dissatisfaction with the efficacy, transition to SCIT, and adverse effects. Refusal of continuation increased with age, whereas transition to SCIT decreased with age. Ninety-seven cases transitioned from SLIT to SCIT, and the transition rates increased with time. Comorbid allergic asthma did not affect the transition rates. However, multi-sensitization was associated with a slightly higher rate of transition to SCIT. The most common reason for the transition was dissatisfaction with the efficacy (54.6%), which was only reported by patients older than 5 years. For children who began SLIT at younger than 5 years old, the most common reason (81.2%) for transition was age reaching 5 years.Conclusions: HDM-SLIT has a very high dropout rate, which is mainly due to refusal of continuation and dissatisfaction with the efficacy. Transitioning from SLIT to SCIT may help keep these patients on AIT and thus increase adherence and long-term efficacy.
The mechanisms underlying corticosteroid insensitivity in severe asthma have not been elucidated although some indirect clinical evidence points toward a role of mast cells. Here, we tested the hypothesis that mast cells can drive corticosteroid insensitivity in airway smooth muscle cells, a key player in asthma pathogenesis. Conditioned media from resting or FcεR1-activated human lung mast cells were incubated with serum-deprived ASM cells (1:4 dilution, 24 h) to determine their impact on the anti-inflammatory action of fluticasone on ASM cell chemokine expression induced by TNFα (10 ng/ml). Conditioned media from FcεR1-activated mast cells (but not that from non-activated mast cells or control media) significantly reduced the ability of 100 nM fluticasone to suppress ASM TNFα-dependent CCL5 and CXCL10 production at both mRNA and protein levels. In contrast, fluticasone inhibition of CXCL-8 production by TNFα was still preserved in the presence of activated mast cell conditioned media. Transcriptomic analysis validated by individual qPCR assays revealed that activated mast cell conditioned media dramatically reduced the number of anti-inflammatory genes induced by fluticasone in ASM cells. Our study demonstrates for the first time that conditioned media from FcεR1-activated mast cells blunt the anti-inflammatory action of corticosteroids in ASM cells by altering their transactivation properties. Because infiltration of mast cells within the ASM bundles is a defining feature of asthma, mast cell-derived mediators may contribute to the glucocorticoid insensitivity present in severe asthma.
Chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) is a common, debilitating skin disorder associated with impaired quality of life and psychological comorbidity. Symptoms can be difficult to control and many individuals will not respond to first line treatment. Due to the chronic and unpredictable nature of the disorder, patients frequently have repeated healthcare attendances. Despite this, little is known about healthcare resource utilization internationally. Furthermore, there is no Irish data to inform fundholding decision makers. Omalizumab is an anti IgE monoclonal antibody used in refractory urticaria. It is a comparatively high cost medicine and access to this treatment can be challenging. Recent assessments of omalizumab compared with usual care suggest that omalizumab is a cost-effective treatment for refractory urticaria. We carried out a retrospective review of 47 patients commenced on omalizumab. We evaluated unplanned primary and secondary care attendances and urticaria symptomatology before and after treatment. As expected, patients with refractory disease that were commenced on omalizumab had objective improvements in urticaria symptoms. Importantly, we show that this is reflected in a dramatic reduction in unplanned healthcare interactions at primary care and emergency departments. These data suggest that omalizumab may benefit these patients by reducing disease activity and thereby reducing the need for unplanned healthcare interactions.
Vaccine anaphylaxis is rare; however, severe allergic reactions after administration of a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines have been reported. Excipients in the vaccine may play a role in severe allergic reactions post-vaccination. Various mechanisms, including IgE-mediated pathways, direct mass cell stimulation via the Mas-related G protein-coupled receptor-X2, and complement pathway activation, have been proposed to cause the anaphylaxis. Skin testing, using the basophil activation test, has been used to clarify the mechanism of the anaphylaxis and provide safety information for the next injection. Here, we review the current evidence and suggested approaches for patients who experienced an immediate severe allergic reaction to the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.