Quest Diagnostics is the first national diagnostic information services provider to broadly offer diagnostic services based on the ImmunoCAP tests to physicians, significantly broadening patient access. Under a non-exclusive agreement, the two companies will also co-market ImmunoCAP test services provided by Quest Diagnostics’ clinical laboratories. Additional terms were not disclosed.
“Quest Diagnostics has long-standing expertise with ImmunoCAP technologies. The addition of the ImmunoCAP Peanut Component Tests to Quest’s ImmunoCAP menu extends physician and patient access to these important diagnostic tools,” said Joseph Bernardo, president, immunodiagnostics, for Thermo Fisher Scientific. “The more that patients, in consultation with their doctors, know about their specific exposure risks to peanut allergens, the safer they and their families may be from this potential health risk.”
Unlike skin scratch testing, the ImmunoCAP Peanut Component tests measure a patient’s Immunoglobulin E, or IgE, sensitization to five important individual peanut proteins, called allergen components. Some of these components are known to be responsible for severe allergic reactions in sensitized patients. Physicians may use this information to identify patients who have a good chance of passing an oral food challenge and to develop personalized treatment plans tailored to a patient’s individual risk.
Peanuts and tree nuts are the most common cause of fatal and near-fatal allergic reactions to food in the United States. A Quest Diagnostics Health Trends study published in 2011 found that peanuts were the most common source of food allergen sensitization in children ages six to 18 years of age, affecting nearly one in four tested by the company.
While some peanut sensitized patients may react to components in the peanut that can cause severe and potentially life-threatening reactions, other patients may react only to components that usually cause only mild localized reactions. Results from peanut component testing can help to stratify a patient’s risk and identify those patients likely to pass an oral food challenge.
“Many parents fear that their children may be at risk of a severe allergic reaction to peanuts, and these children often live restricted lives as a result,” said Stanley J. Naides, M.D., medical director, Immunology R&D, Quest Diagnostics. “ImmunoCAP component technology takes peanut allergy testing to the next level, providing not only the ability to identify allergen sensitization but may also help physicians predict the likelihood of a systemic reaction upon allergen exposure. That’s the kind of critical diagnostic insight that can empower patients and create a healthier world.”
Other ImmunoCAP blood allergy tests available to physicians through Quest Diagnostics include component testing for milk, egg and respiratory allergens.