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Desensitization and Cross-Desensitization During Oral Grass or Ragweed Pollen Immunotherapy

Study Purpose

The purpose of this study is to determine if sublingual allergen immunotherapy tablets work by inducing a state of desensitization in mast cells and basophils.

Recruitment Criteria

Healthy volunteers are participants who do not have a disease or condition, or related conditions or symptoms

Accepts Healthy Volunteers

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Study Type
Eligible Ages 18 Years and Over
Gender All
More Inclusion & Exclusion Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

- Verified allergic sensitivity to either Timothy Grass or Short Ragweed pollen (primary allergen) - Verified allergic sensitivity to at least one allergen in addition to the primary allergen

Exclusion Criteria:

- Negative skin testing to Timothy Grass or Short Ragweed pollen and at least one other environmental allergen - Dermatographism - Severe dermatologic condition that may interfere with skin testing - Pregnancy - H1 receptor antihistamine taken within 7 days of testing - Systemic steroids - Omalizumab taken at any time in the past - Receiving or received allergen immunotherapy - Desensitized to any drug within 6 months - Current uncontrolled or severe asthma - Eosinophilic esophagitis - Significant pulmonary, cardiovascular, renal, hepatobiliary, or neurological diseases, or another disease process felt to put a subject at increased risk for adverse events - Hypersensitivity to any of the inactive ingredients in the allergen extract tablets - History of mental illness or drug or alcohol abuse that could interfere with the ability to comply with study requirements - Inability or unwillingness to give written informed consent

Trial Details

This trial id was obtained from ClinicalTrials.gov, a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, providing information on publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants with locations in all 50 States and in 196 countries.

Trial ID:

Phase 1: Studies that emphasize safety and how the drug is metabolized and excreted in humans.

Phase 2: Studies that gather preliminary data on effectiveness (whether the drug works in people who have a certain disease or condition) and additional safety data.

Phase 3: Studies that gather more information about safety and effectiveness by studying different populations and different dosages and by using the drug in combination with other drugs.

Phase 4: Studies occurring after FDA has approved a drug for marketing, efficacy, or optimal use.


The sponsor is the organization or person who oversees the clinical study and is responsible for analyzing the study data.

Lead Sponsor
Virginia Commonwealth University

The person who is responsible for the scientific and technical direction of the entire clinical study.

Principal Investigator
Lawrence B Schwartz, M.D.,Ph.D.
Principal Investigator Affiliation Virginia Commonwealth University

Category of organization(s) involved as sponsor (and collaborator) supporting the trial.

Agency Class
Overall Status Recruiting
Countries United States

The disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury that is being studied.

Immunologic Desensitization
Additional Details

To induce clinical tolerance, a failure to respond to an allergen to which one was previously responsive, is an important objective for physicians, one that plays a significant role in the primary prevention of allergic reactions in the clinical practice of Allergy & Immunology. The tolerance resulting after standard subcutaneous immunotherapy to aeroallergen and insect venom allergens is long lasting and allergen-specific, and may involve antigen-specific T regulatory cells. In contrast, tolerance resulting from drug desensitization protocols is short-lived, and postulated to target mast cells and basophils. Research into the cellular and biochemical processes by which desensitization occurs has revealed that mast cells desensitized to one antigen in vitro, under certain conditions, lose the ability to degranulate to unrelated antigens or to direct FcεRI cross-linking. Preliminary data suggests that this cross-desensitization can happen in patients undergoing incremental desensitization, depending in part on the percentage of IgE targeted to the allergen used for desensitization. This proposal therefore aims to explore desensitization and cross-desensitization in human volunteers undergoing standard sublingual (SL) immunotherapy to grass or ragweed pollen. Subjects will undergo SL immunotherapy with either Timothy or Short Ragweed tablets, taking one tablet per day, or will take a placebo tablet. Titration skin testing to Timothy or Short Ragweed, to one or preferably two additional allergens to which the subject is sensitive, and to codeine as a control for mast cell activation capability through a non-IgE-dependent pathway will be performed to determine the PC3 value (see below). Skin testing, including histamine and diluent controls, will be performed prior to and at one and four weeks after initiation of immunotherapy. At each time point, blood will be obtained to measure total and antigen-specific IgE levels, tryptase and cytokine levels, and basophil activation with the relevant allergens and C5a as a non-IgE-mediated control for basophil activation.

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Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia




Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond, Virginia, 23298

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