Current allergy diagnostics are far from ideal. On the one hand, the most relevant type of diagnosis, food challenges, are expensive and burdensome for patients. On the other side of the spectrum, there is IgE-based diagnosis, of which the correlation with clinical reality is far but too often unsatisfactory. The latter is a.o. caused by the fact that for a positive result, it is sufficient when only one epitope of an allergen binds to an IgE-antibody.
Mediator Release Assays are based on the release of allergenic mediators, such as histamine, or on the increased expression of surface markers, such as CD63, upon cross-linking of surface-bound IgE from allergic patients by functional allergens. Such assays therefore more closely mimic physiological events in patients than do in vitro IgE-based assays, such as CAP, RIA or ELISA, and therefore can possibly replace, at least in many situations, overly simple assays such as the IgE-based, or overly expensive or burdensome, such as food challenges.
Such MRAs can be applied for a variety of purposes, such as patient diagnosis, but also to evaluate the allergenicity of e.g. food products.
- To set up mediator release assays for a number of common allergies
- To evaluate the potential application of such MRAs by validating these against currently employed diagnostic procedures.