Measurement of IgE of IgG in serum have been proven to be too insensitive and too non-specific to discriminate individuals with sensitization, with and without clinical symptoms. Because the double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge is expensive and labor-intensive, there is a strong need for new tools to improve the diagnosis of food allergy.

In order to develop new diagnostic tools, it is important to search for markers that are strongly associated with food allergy or tolerance. These so-called biomarkers can either be used as diagnostics tools, or can help to define targets or treatment.

Patient material that can be screened for biomarkers:

  • Serum/plasma
  • Saliva
  • Urine

Techniques that are available to screen for biomarkers:

  • Peptide array (screen for discriminative allergen fragments, collaboration with prof. dr. Hugh Sampson and dr. Wayne Shreffler, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA) ((Flinterman AE, Knol EF, Lencer D, Bardina L, den Hartog Jager CF, Lin J, Pasmans SG, Bruijnzeel-Koomen CA, Sampson HA, van Hoffen E, Shreffler WG. Peanut epitopes for IgE and IgG4 in peanut-sensitized children in relation to severity of peanut allergy.J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008;121(3):737-43)).
  • Metabolomics: mass spectrometry, NMR
  • Phage display