Allergic disease is a common health problem. Recent advances in understanding of the disease have led to the development of new approaches for treatment, including allergen specific immunotherapy.
The Kwok laboratory used class II tetramer reagents to study allergen epitope specific CD4+ T cells in peripheral blood of allergic individuals. The major objectives of this project are to use tetramer reagents for identifying T cell epitopes and to investigate changes of epitope specific T cells during immunotherapy. We propose that different epitope specific T cells have distinct roles in allergic disease.
Current projects include studies in grass pollen allergy, cat allergy, and peanut allergy. Clinical samples from these projects were obtained from the Immune Tolerance Network, and include samples from individuals that were being treated with oral immunotherapy for peanut allergy; sublingual immunotherapy and subcutaneous immunotherapy for people with grass pollen allergy; and biologics in combination with subcutaneous immunotherapy for subjects with cat allergy. Tracking these CD4+ T cells in allergic individuals during antigen specific immunotherapy will facilitate our understanding the roles of these T cells in the pathogenic process of the disease and advance the development of novel immunotherapy.