Clínica Planas’ Special Unit for Allergy Desensitisation was born with the aim of solving a problem left unresolved within the private sector: creating tolerance to foods and medicines considered essential to improving patients’ health and quality of life.
The medical team at this new unit is comprised of highly specialised professionals with the expertise to understand and analyse the patient’s immunological profile and, therefore, design a specific course of desensitisation treatment.
Already implemented within public healthcare, desensitisation is a treatment that ensures permanent tolerance towards medication - like insulin and chemotherapy - that is essential to the treatment of illnesses such as diabetes and cancer.
What is desensitisation?
Desensitisation involves administering a patient with a drug or food to which they are allergic. The process is complex and requires coordination from the specialised medical team. It does not entail removing the allergy altogether, but rather “tricking” the immune system into not triggering a reaction.
A personalised protocol
Patient personalisation is the motto of medicine No one person is the same as another. There are many factors - like age, gender, speed of development, intensity, and severity of symptoms - that create differences due to which you cannot design the same protocol for everyone. We must distinguish the patient who, upon consuming the given food or medicine, develops an oral allergy syndrome (OAS) and only feels an itch in the mouth, from the patient who suffers a sudden anaphylactic shock. It is generally acknowledged that the protocol used to address the problem will need to vary somewhat.
Duration and success of treatment
If the treatment is temporary, as is the case with chemotherapy (the cycles are generally every three weeks), the patterns of desensitisation will also be, until the oncologist finalises the course of treatment.
As regards foodstuffs, if, for example, it is a case of cow’s milk, the patient should, whilst also following the instructions of the allergist, drink recommended quantities of milk or its by-products on a daily basis and for their whole life, in order to keep the immunological memory at bay. According to experts, it is useful to have a yearly review in order to adapt the allergen dosage.
The success rate of the treatment, which is already carried out in the public sector, is very close to 100%, between 95 and 98%, depending on the experience of the allergological group that sets out the inclusion criteria.
Which illnesses benefit from desensitisation?
From frequent illnesses like vascular diseases or diabetes, to cancer and other increasingly prevalent and high-involvement immunological conditions.
In order to treat the latter, specialists such as rheumatologists, neurologists, gastroenterologists and dermatologists, among others, opt for medication based upon new drugs called “monoclonal antibodies”.
Rheumatoid arthritis and other rheumatic pathologies
• Psoriatic arthritis and other skin pathologies
• Crohn´s disease and other digestive pathologies
• Hepatitis C
• Disseminated lupus erythematosus and other autoimmune conditions
• Multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions
• Acquired immunodeficiencies
• Coronary artery disease and vascular diseases
• Most common cancers (breast, bowel, prostate, lung, leukaemia and lymphomas) with an allergy to chemotherapeutic agents.
In terms of food desensitisation, following the relevant analysis and identification of the foodstuffs behind the allergy or intolerance, the appropriate desensitising therapy will be evaluated jointly with the patient, especially in cases of essential foods, or those which may pose a threat to life, such as eggs, milk, and LTP\\'s (defensive proteins) from fruits and vegetables, etc.