Seasonal Allergy Vaccine on the Horizon
Pollinex Quattro Vaccine Works After 4 Treatments
WebMD News Archive
Nov. 14, 2007 -- A new allergy treatment could lead to a once-a-year
vaccination for seasonal allergies, rather than weekly allergy shots year
The new vaccine, called Pollinex Quattro, gave patients a level of relief
after four treatments given over three to four weeks that ordinarily take up to
a year to achieve with conventional allergy shots.
Pollinex Quattro is derived from salmonella bacteria, which intensifies a
person’s immune response to substances they are allergic to.
William Howland III, MD, an investigator at Lovelace Scientific Resources in
Austin, Texas, says the vaccine created a faster immune response in 68 patients
with allergic rhinitis due to ragweed.
Participants in this study were divided into four groups, which received one
of three increasingly concentrated doses of the vaccine or placebo. All groups
receiving the vaccine experienced an immune response. The best response
occurred in the group receiving vaccine with the highest concentration.
Allergy Vaccine 'Safe and Effective'
Howland says this seasonal allergy vaccine requires fewer injections and
involves less risk for severe adverse reactions than rapid desensitization, an
aggressive approach to treating allergies that involves 10 to 15 injections
given at 15- to 20-minute intervals.
Rapid desensitization usually takes all day because patients must be
monitored for severe reactions. With Pollinex Quattro, patients were out the
door in 30 minutes, and less than half of them experienced mild to moderate
allergic reactions, primarily at the site of injection.
"What’s really cool is we were able to get changes in immune response so
quickly with this treatment compared to traditional immunotherapy," Howland
Howland’s study evaluated the treatment’s ability to quickly trigger an
immune response to ragweed allergens but stopped short of follow-up of patient
In another Pollinex Quattro study, 70% of patients injected with Pollinex
Quattro vaccine were desensitized to allergens, and 87.8% showed symptom
Allergy Vaccine: What's Next?
Although Pollinex Quattro is available in Europe, it must still undergo U.S.
clinical trials for FDA approval, which will take about five years, Howland
Rebecca Gruchalla, MD, chief of allergy at the University of Texas
Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, says there is still not enough data to
determine its potential as an alternative to conventional immune therapy or
rapid desensitization, which is available now.
"Most of my patients are allergic to multiple substances, and so far
most of the (PQ) studies have focused on a single allergy source like
grass," she notes.
The study was presented Nov. 12 at The American College of Allergy, Asthma
& Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting in Dallas.