From an allergen source, single allergen components can be produced. Sensitization to these components is then measured individually, helping to pinpoint on an exact molecular level which component the patient is sensitized to. This information provides the basis for a refined diagnosis of the allergy.
Allergen components are proteins that, based on structural similarity, are grouped into different protein families. The consequences of being sensitized to members of these families depend on properties they have in common; they are present in different amounts in the sources and they have different stabilities. Some allergen components are specific and some are cross-reactive.
What does Molecular Allergology add?
1. Assess the clinical risk for reaction
Molecular Allergology enables you to draw conclusions on the risk connected with the sensitization. Sensitization to allergen components that are stable may elicit systemic reactions, as well as local reactions, while sensitization to labile components is connected mainly with local reactions.
2. Explain symptoms due to cross-reactivity
Symptoms elicited by cross-reacting antibodies can be distinguished from those caused by genuine sensitization, which is important for patient management and for giving adequate avoidance advice. In cases where only cross-reactive sensitization is identified, further testing to find the primary sensitizer should be undertaken.
3. Identify the right patients for Specific Immunotherapy
Sensitization to specific allergen components is essential for successful Specific Immunotherapy. By matching patients having a genuine sensitization with an extract from the relevant source, treatment outcome is improved.