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Molecular allergology: what you need to know about the future of allergy testing
Content sponsored by Nextmune
What is molecular allergology and how will it affect the future of allergy testing? The staff at dvm360® caught up with Thierry Olivry, DrVet, PhD, DACVD, DECVD at WVC 2023 to discuss all this and more. The interview below has been lightly edited for readibility and clarity.
dvm360®: Can you tell us about yourself and give a brief overview of molecular allergology?
Thierry Olivry, DrVet, PhD, DACVD, DECVD: My name is Terry Olivry and I'm a professor emeritus of veterinary dermatology. I'm a veterinary dermatologist by training and head of research and development at Nextmune. My talk today is about the introduction of to veterinary practitioners of the subject of molecular allergology, which is the testing of IgE (Immunoglobin E) sensitization using not the classical allergen extract, but single molecular components within this extract. The use of the molecular allergology allows a far more precise identification of the IgE sensitization. And the use of molecular components allows for a much more sensitive results. Instead of having an extract composed of thousands of proteins, of which only a small minority are allergens, here we are using 100% of an allergen spot is a single molecular component.
dvm360®: Are there any case studies involving this approach?
Olivry: Yes, I will show throughout my lecture several cases where the classic intradermal or serological testing would have led to some interpretation, but the use of the molecular allergen tests allowed for more specific identification of the allergen trigger, which allows the clinician to then a narrow down to a more precise immunotherapy formulation.
dvm360®: What questions do veterinarians typically have about molecular allergology?
Olivry: One of the questions that I get very often is: "How do these tests result compare to those of the classical serological testing?" And the answer is that in many cases the use of molecular allergens allows us to determine some of the allergenic cross-reactivities.
That would not be possible with classical allergen extracts, because on our platform, we have several times the same protein from different allergens sources that are repeated, and if they are all positives, that means that only one of sources of the allergen extracts will need to be added in the formulation of immunotherapy. So in these cases, we can narrow down the number of allergens in a immunotherapy, and that results in higher concentration of the relevant protein in the vaccine. In humans, that is associated with a much, much better efficacy.
dvm360®: What key takeaway do you want to leave the audience with?
Olivry: This is the future of allergy serology, but at the same time, it can be a little bit disconcerting for veterinary practitioners who are used to to 1 type of format, different rates of positivity, different ways of approaching the formulation.
This is different. We need to get used to it because we need to now take into consideration factors that may not have been that important before, such as a season of testing and when you submit the serum for the testing. You have to do that now in the time, in the season when the dog has a higher level of of clinical signs. And you need also to note if you suspect, let's say something like a food allergy, you need to do it when the dog is eating the food and is having signs due to the short half life of IgE. The longer you wait, the less likely you will detect the sensitization.