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Pharmacia Diagnostics (PFE) Release: ImmunoCAP(R) Offers First Objective Data To Show Rise In Allergies

10/19/2005 5:13:05 PM

KALAMAZOO, Mich., March 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Data presented today at the 61st Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology provided the first quantitative data to show that allergies are on the rise. The study used the ImmunoCAP(R) Specific IgE blood test which measures IgE levels or antibodies responsible for producing allergy symptoms. This study demonstrated that the level of specific IgE to dust mites in children was more than double and in some cases nearly triple the level observed in their parents.

"Diagnosing allergies has been somewhat of an art form and susceptible to bias," said P. Brock Williams, PhD, lead investigator and allergy and diagnostics expert, Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. "This is the first truly objective study to demonstrate allergies are increasing in younger generations."

This study was one of several posters presented at the meeting using ImmunoCAP as a diagnostic tool. It evaluated families from different environments who had at least one parent with reversible asthma. All family members were tested for allergies to several allergens including dust mites -- a common allergen -- using ImmunoCAP. The study examined 677 parents with 804 offspring (n=1481). These data revealed that children ranging in ages from infancy to eighteen had a considerably higher level of specific IgE in their blood to dust mites (54 percent vs. 39 percent), which verifies the increase in allergies in younger generations.

"The increase in IgE levels in children may be attributed to generational changes in environmental influences such as forced air, or lifestyle changes, including increased time spent indoors and decreased activity," said Dr. Williams. "Objective data collected early in a child's life will have a vital impact on interrupting the Allergy March, defined as the progression of allergic diseases including: eczema; gastrointestinal distress; recurring ear infections; sinusitis; allergic rhinitis and finally asthma."

The ImmunoCAP technology works by measuring IgE antibodies to specific allergens in a small sample of blood. Specific IgE is produced as a result of sensitization to an allergen and increases with exposure to that substance. Skin tests and medical history have been used for decades by allergy specialists to detect allergies. However, these tests have limitations, especially in a child's skin, since it varies in its reaction pattern more than adults, producing a greater unpredictability in results. Research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that ImmunoCAP is 95 percent accurate compared with older blood tests that are only 75 percent accurate.

"ImmunoCAP offers all physicians an accurate and objective tool to rule allergies in or out, determine appropriate treatment strategies or refer patients to a specialist," said Michael Land, president and general manager of Pharmacia Diagnostics, U.S. Operations.

ImmunoCAP is the first allergy test to be accepted by the FDA as a truly quantitative test for pinpointing allergens and allergy blood testing is now accepted by the National Institutes of Health for asthma patients.

Pharmacia Diagnostics AB, headquartered in Uppsala, Sweden, is the world leader in in vitro IgE diagnostic research and product development. Its U.S. affiliate is in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Pharmacia Diagnostics AB

CONTACT: Media, Nora Plunkett for Pharmcia Diagnostics, +1-312-642-0789ext. 204

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