Rebutting oral tolerance warnings

Two reports appearing in this month's Science raised red flags about the potential of oral tolerance therapy for autoimmune diseases to backfire. But the models used by the researchers may not be relevant to the way in which oral tolerance therapy is actually administered. In addition, the problems seen in the animal models haven't shown up in the 1,400 patients treated thus far in oral tolerance trials.

In a diabetic mouse model reported by researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (Melbourne, Australia), oral ingestion of large amounts of a specific antigen, ovalbumen, stimulated killer T cells (cytotoxic T lymphocytes) that attacked tissue and aggravated the disease.