cashew allergy STW

With the rise in the prevalence of food allergies, the need of diagnostic tools replacing the double blind placebo controlled food challenge test (DBPCFC) and the relative backlog in our knowledge about cashew nut allergy – a potentially dangerous allergy –as starting point, this project aims to develop mediator release assays as tools with cashew allergy as a validation model.

Mediator Release Assays (MRAs) may circumvent the drawbacks for the various assays because a) cross-linking of IgE on effector cells is required before a response can be measured, thus creating a physiologically more relevant model than IgE-testing, b) no ingestion of food by patients is required thus minimizing the burden to patients, c) no interference of matrix parameters plays a role, d) resolving power can go to the level of allergenic proteins thus adding to the clinical observations and to the option to assess food safety with this type of assays and e) they are cost-effective.

Development of MRAs will provide a highly attractive method of FA-diagnosis replacing a large number of DBPCFC testing, and of sIgE-testing. In this way, the project will provide an excellent opportunity for industrial partners to develop such assays. As the technology-to-be-developed is generic in nature, in the sense that the technology, in principal, is also suitable to identify other types of food allergies, an important product development perspective is created.

Making isolated allergens available, either form their natural source or via heterologous expression, will allow the development of component resolved diagnostic methods (relevant in clinic) or component based evaluation of food products.