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Keywords:

  • allergen standardization;
  • enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay;
  • European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines;
  • international standards;
  • International Union of Immunological Societies;
  • major allergens;
  • mass units;
  • recombinant allergens;
  • reference reagents;
  • World Health Organization

Allergen extracts have been used for diagnosis and treatment of allergy for around 100 years. During the second half of 20th century, the notion increasingly gained foothold that accurate standardization of such extracts is of great importance for improvement of their quality. As a consequence, manufacturers have implemented extensive protocols for standardization and quality control. These protocols have overall IgE-binding potencies as their focus. Unfortunately, each company is using their own in-house reference materials and their own unique units to express potencies. This does not facilitate comparison of different products. During the last decades, most major allergens of relevant allergen sources have been identified and it has been established that effective immunotherapy requires certain minimum quantities of these allergens to be present in the administered maintenance dose. Therefore, the idea developed to introduce major allergens measurements into standardization protocols. Such protocols based on mass units of major allergen, quantify the active ingredients of the treatment and will at the same time allow comparison of competitor products. In 2001, an EU funded project, the CREATE project, was started to support introduction of major allergen based standardization. The aim of the project was to evaluate the use of recombinant allergens as reference materials and of ELISA assays for major allergen measurements. This paper gives an overview of the achievements of the CREATE project.