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P3-0360 Programme

Slovenian network of allergy and asthma: from epidemiology to genetics

Code: P3-0360
Period 1.1.2019 - 31.12.2024 (running from 1.1.2009)
Haed: Prof Mitja Košnik, MD, PhD
Research activity: Medicine / Microbiology and Immunology

Asthma and allergies are the most common chronic diseases in developed countries. Their prevalence is still increasing and is approaching 50% (patients suffering from any allergy anytime in their lifetime). Several hypotheses are discussed, such as the evolution of the »western lifestyle«, the hygiene hypothesis, and environmental changes. An important part in the development of allergies is genetics. We are currently facing two challenges. The first one is that we need to define the cause of the increasing prevalence which might lead to prevention. The second one is to define the exact mechanisms causing allergy symptoms which could result in a more efficient diagnostic approach and a more successful treatment. Only a half of those with allergen specific IgE actually develop symptoms. In case of anaphylaxis, as little as 10% of sensitized patients develop symptoms. Furthermore, it is unclear why some subjects with comparable specific IgE levels might develop only mild symptoms or a life-treating anaphylaxis. We still have not found biomarkers indicating which sensitized subjects are at risk for the development of life-threatening allergic reactions.

Another important question is the exact mechanism behind specific immunotherapy, as it is still poorly understood. There are no in vitro tests to correctly predict treatment success. This research programme plans to study the above mentioned questions, causes for those differences as well as possible mechanisms in terms of recombinant allergens, by measuring the sensitivity of effector cells (basophils, mast cells), and in terms of genetics (incl. expression). Program group members are certain that the program will yield great results with an important effect on the development of science and improved visibility of Slovenia in this field.

Research organisations:

  • University Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases
  • University of Maribor, Faculty of Medicine