By Allergen Bureau

Discovery of Skin Biomarkers may Help Prevent Food Allergies

Researchers at National Jewish Health have discovered novel non-invasive early predictors for food allergies in infants, giving rise to promising new ways to protect those at risk from developing allergies.

In their recent study, researchers collected skin tape strips from newborns’ forearms at two months old, before allergy symptoms manifest. This technique gently captured superficial skin proteins and lipids for analysis. Over two years, children were monitored clinically for allergy development.

The research was directed by previous findings that changes in skin barrier immunity can signify potential allergy development, with researchers hypothesising that when abnormal profiles of proteins, lipids and microbes are found on the skin surface, it may precede the development of atopic dermatitis and food allergies.

By identifying at-risk individuals early and addressing skin barrier issues, the study team hope to allow greater prevention of allergy onset in infants and children.

The research is now progressing to practical applications, with a focus on developing and testing lipid-based creams for newborns that may be able to restore skin barrier integrity and reduce the risk of food allergies developing.

In a follow-up study, lipid creams are being applied to the skin of trial participants where it is hoped the cream will penetrate the skin and infuse it with fatty acids. Recruitment to the trial across four sites worldwide is on-going amongst expectant mothers and babies 0-12 weeks old.

Reference: Berdyshev et al. 2024. Skin Biomarkers Predict the Development of Food Allergy in Early Life. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2024.02.014.