Food allergy is a disease affecting 2-3% of the population. Allergic reactions to food can be mild, but also severe, life threatening symptoms can occur. The presence of IgE towards allergens, also called sensitization (elevated specific serum IgE and/or positive skin prick test) is only clinically relevant in 50% of the patients. Furthermore, the extent of sensitization seems only partly associated with the severity of the symptoms. Therefore, the diagnosis of food allergy is currently only considered reliable when measurement of sensitization is followed by a double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge (DBPCFC) as the gold standard to prove clinical relevance. This is an elaborate and expensive test, which is only available in specialized centers. Therefore, there is a clear need for improved tool for the diagnosis of food allergy.
Our department is one of the collaborators in the Utrecht Center for Food Allergy (CFA). Together with researchers from Utrecht University and TNO, our mission is to generate and improve our fundamental knowledge with respect to Food Allergy and causative proteins in order to serve food industry, consumers and patients with applied research.