The tedious and patient-vexing "scratch test" can be replaced by a more accurate in vitro procedure, allergists long have believed.
No less than a dozen papers touching on avenues for such allergen sensitivity tests were given at the recent American Academy of Allergy sessions in New York.
A few studies show potential clinical promise using materials such as blood corpuscles and human or animal tissues. Potential cost to the patient caused by sophisticated laboratory devices remains a principal barrier. But, reduction of annoying trauma from multiple scratches to a single puncture for blood sampling is an attractive goal.
Centers where such investigations are underway range from the State University of New York at Buffalo to McGill University in Montreal to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.
At Buffalo, Carl E. Arbesman, MD, and colleagues are concentrating on immunologic studies with rhesus monkey ileum as well as human lymphocytes in culture.