Could desensitizing your child to their allergens be as easy as squeezing toothpaste onto their brush every morning and evening? Yes, according to the inventor of a toothpaste designed to cure allergies.
We’ve talked before about oral immunotherapy (OIT) which is a treatment for IgE mediated allergies. The idea is to desensitize the person by giving them small doses of the allergen in a safe environment.
(FYI, there’s also sub-cutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) which does the same thing but with injections, sub-lingual immunotherapy (SLIT) which involves putting the allergen under the person’s tongue, and epicutaneous immunotherapy (EPIT) which uses a patch on their skin.)
But parents of children with allergies are buzzing about the newest option: Oral Mucosal Immunotherapy (OMIT). Allovate Therapeutics is developing a toothpaste called Allerdent that’s designed for people with respiratory allergies while Intrommune Therapeutics is developing one for food allergies, and the concept is pretty genius. Brushing your teeth twice a day is automatic, so it’s an easy way to work allergy treatment into someone’s routine.
(This is especially important because studies show people rarely keep up with their SLIT and SCIT treatments.)
Early case studies of OMIT have been very encouraging because the mucosal tissue with its oral Langerhans cells seem to be “masters of tolerance” and capable of “engaging and internalizing a wide variety of pathogens.” It’s thought to be even better than the under-the-tongue SLIT treatment because there are far more of these superstar cells in the cheeks and gums.
According to Allovate’s site, Allerdent’s toothpaste base is available without active pharmaceutical ingredients so it can be customized to address the needs of each respiratory allergy patient by adding different purified immunotherapeutic agents.
In fact, it’s actually kind of a DIY project at this stage. Physicians can take allergen extracts (protein preparation in 50 per cent glycerin) and stir them into the toothpaste with a tongue depressor. A kit containing a three-month supply of the base toothpaste and a metered dispensing system can be ordered online for $179.99, while a kit containing six three-month supplies is $1,079.94.
But inventor Dr. William R. Reisacher isn’t stopping at a toothpaste that can cure allergies. He’s also developing a complex allergy test called LAMB-Dx that involves sampling epitheliah cells from a patient’s mouth and nose turbinates.