Welcome to the Auckland Allergy Clinic web site. This section will bring you the latest breaking news in Allergy & Clinical Immunology and also additions we have made to the Clinic in the last month.
The Allergy News information provided on this web site is reviewed and approved by the Allergists at the Auckland Allergy Clinic. The information is sourced from International Medical Journals and Newspapers. These articles are chosen either because they are thought to be particularly good studies, very interesting Allergy News or relevant to New Zealand. The articles may not necessarily be the views of the editor. Where relevant the editor will add his/her comments at the bottom of the review.
These updates are provided for educational, communication and information purposes only.
Immunotherapy is defined as ‘the treatment of diseases by inducing, enhancing, or suppressing an immune response’. Simply put, immunotherapy modifies or avoids diseases by influencing the immune system. The immune system is the body’s defence mechanism, and immunotherapy mainly acts as a reinforcement of this mechanism. Immunotherapy that enhances the immune response is classified as activation immunotherapy, while immunotherapy that suppresses the immune response is classified as suppressive immunotherapy.
The active agents used in immunotherapy are known as immuomodulators, and include cytokines, chemokines and interferons. Cancer immunotherapy uses these agents to stimulate the immune system to destroy tumours. This is a relatively new treatment, which is shaping up to be the future for treating cancers. By comparison, vaccination against infectious diseases by stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies to offer protection against infectious foreign invaders is an example of an old form of activation immunotherapy, which has led to the worldwide eradication of smallpox and reduced prevalence of several other diseases.
Allergen-specific immunotherapy, a suppressive immunotherapy, previously known as desensitization and hyposensitisation, and now also known as allergy vaccination, is also a treatment of the past, it is the oldest treatment we have for allergies – first used 100 years ago, in 1911 by Leonard Noon & Freedman at St Mary’'s Hospital in London – which has stood the test of time, and is presently a very useful treatment for many allergic diseases. This paper will only be discussing Allergen immunotherapy and will try to give arguments to support why Allergen-specific immunotherapy, which is an old treatment, will be the future of treating allergies.