The Principle of Homologous Groups in Regulatory Affairs of Allergen Products – A ProposalLorenz A.R. · Lüttkopf D. · May S. · Scheurer S. · Vieths S.
Division of Allergology, Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Langen, Germany
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Among other legal regulations, the Note for Guidance on Allergen Products CPMP/BWP/243/96 released by the European Medicines Agency provides regulatory instructions regarding the quality of allergen extracts for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. The current revision of this guideline intends to transform the so-called ‘principle of taxonomic families’ to the ‘principle of homologous groups’. According to this concept, the data of one allergen extract demonstrating stability, efficacy and safety can, to a limited extent, be extrapolated to other allergen extracts belonging to the same homologous groups. The present work proposes the formation of homologous groups for pollen species and animal-derived materials on the basis of similar biochemical composition and homology/cross-reactivity of allergens or allergen sources. Some tree pollen species could be assigned to three different homologous groups, some weed pollen species to one homologous group and numerous grass pollen species to one homologous group on condition that data rely on single defined representative species. A homologous group for mites is limited to the Dermatophagoides species and the grouping of vertebrate-derived materials such as dander could be possible under restrictions. The criteria for the formation of the proposed homologous groups are illustrated in detail to provide an opportunity for extending existing homologous groups by further species in case of new insights in allergens and cross-reactivity of allergen sources. In this way, the concept of homologous groups could serve as a dynamic tool in the regulation of allergen products.
© 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel
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