Immunological tolerance means the reduction or elimination of symptoms induced by allergen exposure. Only allergy immunotherapy can result in this form of disease modification.
Neutralising the allergic immune response
Disease modification is achieved via two distinct immunological processes, both of which are induced by allergy immunotherapy: immune deviation and immune tolerance. Immune deviation is a process where Th2 cells in the allergic immune response are replaced by other Th cells.
Meanwhile, immune tolerance is induced by regulatory T cells, which down-regulate the allergic response. These processes result in the induction of IgE-blocking antibodies, which partly neutralise the allergic immune response.
The benefit of using immunotherapy with symptom-relieving medication as opposed to symptom-relieving medication alone is the disease-modifying effect of allergy immunotherapy.
Disease modification is unique to immunotherapy treatment, and apart from rapid reduction in symptoms and reduced use of symptom-relieving medication after the initiation of treatment, immunotherapy offers sustained benefit long after the end of treatment, such as a sustained reduction in the need for symptomatic medication and reduced risk of developing asthma symptoms.