Affiliation: Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta T2N 4N1, Canada.
Allergen-induced inflammation manifests as allergic asthma, dermatitis, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, food allergies, and life- threatening anaphylaxis. Allergic reactions consist of an acute phase hypersensitivity reaction and late phase inflammation. Current therapeutic strategies consist of immunotherapy to induce tolerance to an allergen or pharmacotherapy to treat either the acute phase reaction or the chronic inflammation associated with allergic disease. For bronchial asthma, the allergic disease with the greatest worldwide burden, three medications (β2-adrenoceptor agonists, glucocorticoids and leukotriene antagonists) are the mainstays of therapy, which when used alone or in combination control asthma symptoms in many asthmatics. A recent anti-IgE therapy has benefited some difficult to manage patients, however a significant proportion of asthma patients do not respond well to currently available drugs. There is a need for new effective lost-cost therapies for asthma and other allergic diseases to complement existing therapies and improve long-term outcomes. There are several potential therapeutic targets including transcription factors, cytokines, chemokines and their receptors, proteases, and cell adhesion molecules. Within the next generation of anti-allergy drugs one or more will probably be a peptide or a peptide mimetic.