Hello from the Center for Allergy at the Yitzhak Shamir (Formerly Assaf Harofeh) Medical Center. We hope you have had a pleasant summer. With the turn of the seasons, it is a good time to update you on our current progress and project direction.
In prior updates, we have discussed the difficulty in accurately diagnosing food allergy. To some extent, this is largely addressed by performing oral food challenges (OFC) with suspected allergenic foods. However OFC can be daunting for many patients to go through, not to mention the time investment required, and the complexity of the procedure. A major focus of our work therefore, has been the investigation of alternative food allergy diagnostic methods. In the last year, we have published several papers about food allergy diagnosis using combinations of various methods. While we found that many patients could be diagnosed accurately without the need for a challenge, there were still patients with negative tests results who were really allergic (false negatives). Therefore OFC have remained necessary to rule out allergy.
We are currently looking to expand our toolbox of diagnostic methods by building on some that are already in use. Previously, we have examined the reactions of basophil cells in the blood of allergic patients to extracts of potentially allergenic food. We have also started to investigate the presence of antibodies to specific protein allergens in the sera of these patients. Going forward, we are looking to combine aspects of these methods, testing the specific protein allergens, individually or in combination, on the basophils. This work will require synthesizing the specific proteins, and optimizing for their introduction onto live cells Ultimately, the research should allow us to study direct effects of known protein allergens on histamine-producing cells such as basophils, thereby further facilitating fine-tuning of food allergy diagnosis.
Your support will further our progress toward understanding, diagnosing, and ultimately eliminating food allergy. Thank you very much and as we say in Israel before Rosh Hashana, "Shana tova umetukah. " Have a good and sweet new year.