The use of biologics in food allergy

Alessandro Fiocchi, Brian P. Vickery, Robert A. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Food allergy continues to pose problems due to its increased frequency and its increasingly high severity. In this context, alongside the traditional avoidance strategies of allergenic foods and desensitization through the cautious progression of exposure to foods in the context of oral immunotherapy (OIT), alternative strategies have made their way in the last decades. We review the possibilities of intervention in food allergy with the use of biological drugs capable of interfering with the synthesis of IgE, with their mechanisms of action, or with complex biological mechanisms that lead to the establishment of a food allergy. Methods: Repeated Entrez PubMed searches using the template algorithm “Food allergy” and “biologics” or “Omalizumab” or “Dupilumab” or “milk desensitization” or “oral tolerance induction” or “oral immunotherapy” or “Etokimab” or “Tezepelumab” or “Quilizumab” or “Ligelizumab” or “Tralokinumab” or “Nemolizumab” or “Mepolizumab” or “Reslizumab” or “Benralizumab”. The authors’ clinical experience in paediatric allergy units of University hospitals was also drawn upon. Results: The landscape in this context has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. We have acquired knowledge mainly on the effect of different types of anti-IgE treatments in poliallergic patients with food allergy, and in patients treated with OIT. However, other mediators are being targeted by specific biologic treatments. Among them, the alarmins Il-33 and TSLP, IL-4 and IL-13, eosinophil-related molecules as IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12, and mostly IL-5, and integrins involved in the pathogenesis of eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases (EGIDs), as SIGLEC-8. Conclusions: The ever-better knowledge of the mechanisms of food allergy allowing these developments will improve not only the perspective of patients with the most serious immediate food allergies such as anaphylaxis, but also those of patients with related diseases such as atopic dermatitis, eosinophilic esophagitis, and EGIDs. Biologics are also intended to complement OIT strategies that have developed over the years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1006-1018
Number of pages13
JournalClinical and Experimental Allergy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • IgE
  • food allergy
  • immunotherapy and tolerance induction
  • pediatrics
  • quality-of-life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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