Pharmacia Diagnostics (PFE) Release: First Objective Study Shows Allergies On The Rise 
10/19/2005 5:11:39 PM

PORTAGE, Mich., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- A study presented today at the 2005 American Academy of Family Physician's Annual Scientific Assembly provided the first quantitative data to show that allergies are on the rise in younger generations. The study used the ImmunoCAP(R) Specific IgE blood test which quantitatively measures the level IgE or antibodies responsible for producing allergy symptoms.

"ImmunoCAP is the first and only quantitative test that has been scientifically proven to show higher sensitization rates to allergens in children, which is an indication that allergies are increasing," said P. Brock Williams, PhD, lead investigator and allergy and diagnostics expert, Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. "In this study, the test determined 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."

This study 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 the ImmunoCAP Specific IgE blood test. 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 frequency of detection in dust mite specific IgE in their blood (55 percent vs. 39 percent), which verifies the increase in allergies in younger generations.

"The increase in specific 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 allow physicians to recommend avoidance strategies, so that patients minimize their exposure to triggers, which will decrease their risk for developing allergy symptoms and 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. Diagnostic blood tests for specific IgE, when used in combination with family history and medical evaluation, help the clinician to improve the management of allergies and decrease the risk for asthma by accurately diagnosing these conditions and improving care for patients.

"Information gained with ImmunoCAP offers all physicians an accurate and objective way to rule allergies in or out, and this information can be very helpful in determining appropriate treatment and avoidance strategies or for referral to a specialist," said Michael Land, president and general manager of Pharmacia Diagnostics, US Operations.

ImmunoCAP Specific IgE blood test is the first allergy test to be cleared by the FDA as a truly quantitative test for pinpointing allergens. Allergy blood testing is recognized by the National Institutes of Health for the management of patients with asthma.

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 Portage, Michigan.

Pharmacia Diagnostics AB

CONTACT: Nora Plunkett, +1-773-330-5540, for Pharmacia Diagnostics AB