• anaphylaxis; food allergy; DNA immunization; avoidance of allergenic foods; immunotherapy

Food allergy is a major cause of life-threatening hypersensitivity reactions. Food-induced anaphylaxis is the most common reason for someone to present to the emergency department for an anaphylactic reaction. The avoidance of the allergenic food is the only method of preventing further reactions that is currently available for sensitized patients. Strict avoidance of specific foods is the accepted treatment of food-induced allergic reactions but is often an unrealistic therapeutic option for food-induced hypersensitivity reactions for the many reasons previously described. Desirable therapeutic strategies for the treatment and prevention of food allergies must be safe, relatively inexpensive and easily administered. Recent advances in the understanding of the immunological mechanisms underlying allergic disease and better characterization of food allergens have greatly expanded the potential therapeutic options for future use. Several different forms of immunomodulatory therapies are currently under investigation: peptide immunotherapy, mutated protein immunotherapy, allergen DNA immunization, vaccination with immunostimulatory DNA sequences and anti-immunoglobulin E (Anti-IgE) therapy.