Allergies are the most common chronic diseases in infants. In Australia more than 20% of infants present with eczema and at least 50% of these will develop a food allergy by 12 months.1, 5 One in 13 children suffer from food allergy in the US resulting in a health care burden of $25 billion per annum.2 Allergies can severely impact on quality of life and are life-threatening in some instances. Currently there is no effective cure for allergic disorders and disease management often relies on avoiding exposure to the allergen.
Ondek is taking an innovative approach to meet the growing need for new therapies to treat allergy, particularly in infants and children, by developing ImmBALANCE®.
ImmBALANCE® is derived from Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that naturally resides in the human stomach where it survives by regulating the host’s immune system to tolerate its presence. This same mechanism of regulation of the immune system protects against allergy.
Epidemiology studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between the presence of H. pylori and the reduced incidence of allergic disease. In developing countries, where there is a high frequency of H. pylori, the population has low levels of allergic asthma whereas in industrialised countries less than 5% of children have H. pylori, between 10-20% of young children develop allergic asthma.3, 4
Currently there is no cure and limited treatments for allergic disorders, particularly for children. There is a mounting need for an effective treatment and improved management of paediatric allergy. ImmBALANCE® is being developed as an oral immunotherapy for treating infants and young children at the first signs of allergic disease.
1 ASCIA, 2013. Allergy and Immune Diseases in Australia ( AIDA ) Report 2013. Available at: http://www.allergy.org.au/images/stories/reports/ASCIA_AIDA_Report_2013.pdf
2 Gupta RS, Springston EE, Warrier MR, Smith B, Kumar R, Pongracic J, et al. The prevalence, severity, and distribution of childhood food allergy in the United States. Pediatrics. 2011;128(1):e9-17.
3 Pawankar R, Canonica GW, ST Holgate ST, Lockey RF, Blaiss M. The WAO White Book on Allergy (Update. 2013)
4 Blaser MJ, Chen Y, Reibman J. Does Helicobacter pylori protect against asthma and allergy? Gut. 2008;57(5):561-7.
5 Martin PE, Eckert JK, Koplin JJ, Lowe AJ, Gurrin LC, Dharmage SC, et al. Which infants with eczema are at risk of food allergy? Results from a population-based cohort. Clin Exp Allergy. 2015;45(1):255-64.