Previous research in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reported that up to 75% of children with milk allergy can tolerate heated milk.1 But if you are a parent of a child with cow’s milk allergy, how can you tell if your child is one of the 25% who are likely to have a serious allergic reaction to any form of milk?
In one of many food allergy research presentations at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), a study by Wang et al. sought to determine whether children with different degrees of cow’s milk allergy differed in the way their immune systems recognized milk proteins. Forty-one people were recruited from a larger clinical study on the effects of ingesting heated milk proteins at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
Study results showed that Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies from children who reacted to all forms of milk products (baked milk and unheated milk) bound to more epitopes than children who reacted only to unheated milk. In addition, the severity of the reaction directly correlated with the number of epitopes recognized by IgE antibodies from a child.
IgE antibodies can travel to a type of cell that releases chemicals and causes an allergic reaction. Each type of IgE has specific “radar” for each type of allergen, such as cow’s milk. An epitope is a site on a particular molecule, such as a milk protein, that stimulates specific immune responses.
“With this blood test, we hope to be able to tell which cow’s milk-allergic children will be able to tolerate milk in baked products without having to resort to oral food challenges,” explained Hugh A. Sampson, MD, FAAAAI, one of the study authors. “It may also provide some insight into the severity of allergic reaction that a patient might experience.”
- This study was presented during the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) on February 26-March 2 in New Orleans. However, it does not necessarily reflect the policies or the opinions of the AAAAI.
- A link to all abstracts presented at the Annual Meeting is available at annualmeeting.aaaai.org
(414) 272-6071 (AAAAI executive office)
(504) 670-5113 (Press room, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, February 26-March 2)