Allergic diseases are experiencing an increase worldwide, related to a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors, reaching prevalence values higher than 30%. Allergic diseases include respiratory allergy, which in turn includes bronchial asthma and rhinoconjunctivitis, a priority research objective of many health organisations. Currently, allergen-specific immunotherapy is the only way to modify the natural course of allergic respiratory diseases. Meanwhile, food allergy is a growing problem, due to both the potential severity of the reactions and their great impact on the patient's quality of life. In this context, it is worth noting that cross-reactions between certain food allergens and inhaled allergens give rise to a complex group of clinical syndromes, which complicate the management of allergic patients. Among the cross-reacting pan-allergens, prophylines are one of the most prominent in the Mediterranean area.
Our group pursues three main lines of research:
- Respiratory allergy immunotherapy: a two-year extension study of the Phase IV GT-20 study, which addresses immunological changes induced by herbal pollen immunotherapy in respiratory allergy. In addition, a new placebo-controlled clinical trial has recently been started, with the intention of confirming the data from the previous trial, its results will be available in 2017. –Food allergy: we are still working with the Plant Genomics and Biology Centre (UPM-INIA, Dr Díaz-Perales), looking into the role of N-glycosylation in kiwi allergy, and its possible relationship to respiratory allergy to Alternaria. At the same time we have started a collaboration with a research project, focused on nut allergy, which is one of the most prevalent and severe food allergies.
- Finally, we have focused on pan-allergen sensitisation to pollen and food prophyline, which is associated with bronchial asthma, fruit allergy and poor response to immunotherapy. On the one hand, the mechanisms responsible for food allergy in patients sensitised to prophyline will be studied in the context of another research project led by Dr Barber (from the Central European University). On the other hand, we have an ongoing study (2014-2016) focusing on the repertoire of prophyline-responsive T-cells, in collaboration with ALK-Denmark.
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