A fairly good knowledge base concerning various steps in allergic reactions now exists, but despite this knowledge the prevalence of allergic diseases is still increasing: in some areas of the industrialized world up to 50% of the population is affected. More research is needed to further understand allergic sensitisation and how it can be prevented and treated, and novel biopharmaceutical drugs are needed to increase the treatments available to prescribing physicians and their patients. 

This paper, originally published in International Pharmaceutical Industry, is the describes the pathological role of immunoglobulin E (IgE) in allergic reactions, and how identification of this role has allowed physicians to treat reactions by addressing the underlying immunological mechanisms.