Call for partners: Functional nutrition in food allergy treatment

Diet elimination of nuts because of tree nut allergy limits diet diversity in infancy and childhood, while a healthy balanced diet is important for gut health and immune system development. Stress and anxiety associated with food allergy is associated with impaired mental quality of life. Food allergy immunotherapies in development often lack compliance, because of side effects and limited efficiency. Diet supplementation by functional foods or -ingredients during immunotherapy treatment could increase therapy efficiency and reduce unwanted allergic side effects.

The ultimate goal of this proposal is to investigate and predict which functional ingredients can support allergy immunotherapy treatment efficacy in future trials, to improve compliance and reduce the risk of negative side effects. Cashew and hazelnut allergies are chosen as model allergies.

To achieve this, we will develop the following models and investigate the following aspects:

  • Develop an in vitro immune cell model, predictive for effectiveness of allergy immunotherapy extracts.
  • Test food-derived ingredients for their effectiveness to decrease allergic inflammation, by skewing the ‘inflamed’ immune cell model towards desensitization and immune tolerance.
  • Map current inflammation profiles in hazelnut/cashew nut allergic children/adults to define a sensitization profile that will have most profit of immunotherapy and functional ingredient supplementation.
  • Define threshold doses and sensitization profiles (first dose in relation to NOALS/LOALS and biomarker profile) for hazelnut and cashew nut allergic patients that qualify for an immunotherapy treatment.

Our model systems will explore the potential of different functional ingredients for their use in immunotherapy support. In this way, functional food products can be designed to be advised when undergoing an allergy immunotherapy treatment.

The budget for this proposal is estimated to be 960k-1.2m Euro. The above described projects are being developed for application to the TKI subsidy, a Dutch governmental program sponsoring applied research. Each project requires at least one Dutch company partner, but additional partners from abroad are welcome to join. Granted projects receive 50% subsidy funding. The other 50% is contributed by industry partners, of which up to half (25% of total) may be in-kind. Aim is to have 4-5 industrial partners, which results in 80-100k€ cash contribution of partners in 4 years (20-25k€/year).

This consortium is open for participation from (functional) ingredient companies, end product companies, allergy immunotherapy companies and biotech companies. In return for in-cash and in-kind contributions to the project, partners can specify desired topics for research, and provide direction to the research activities. Unfortunately we are not able to reply to solicitations from research institutes or enquiries from students related to this project.